Zachary Guthier and Erica Felsch dancing at National Choreographers Initiative during a summer layoff. Photo by Dave Friedman, Courtesy NCI.

Ask Amy: How to Turn Connections into Dance Gigs

I have a short contract at a small company. What's the best way to build connections for freelance gigs during my layoff? —Allison


During my career, I found that the best way to build connections was through colleagues and friends who already had them. If you know dancers who regularly get work during your company's off-time, ask them how to get in touch with those directors. Ditto for dance friends who live in metropolitan areas like New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco, where project-based companies are common.

It may also be worth visiting dance hubs like Steps on Broadway or Alonzo King LINES Dance Center for classes and choreographic workshops. Introduce yourself to the teachers and dancers and let them know that you're looking for freelance work. I once met a choreographer this way, and we ended up working together.

Looking for performing gigs during your layoff?

Tap into all of your resources, including friends,

connections at major dance schools,

visiting stagers and online audition notices.

Take advantage of visiting stagers and choreographers at your company, too. They know people who know people, and since they're familiar with your dancing, they may be able to put in a good word for you. And reach out to area schools to see if they need guest artists for productions like Nutcracker.

As you build your network, make sure your resumé, headshot, photos and video clips are up-to-date. You can also join networking groups on Facebook, such as We Are Dancers, or set up a profile on websites like needdancers.com, networkdance.com and dance.net, which connect artists with jobs. And bookmark Pointe's auditions webpage—it's continually updated with companies looking for dancers. I also recommend making business cards—you never know who you're going to meet at a performance or a party.

Have a question? Send it to Pointe editor and former dancer Amy Brandt at askamy@dancemedia.com.

Latest Posts


Getty Images

The History of Pointe Shoes: The Landmark Moments That Made Ballet's Signature Shoe What It Is Today

Pointe shoes, with their ability to elevate a dancer both literally and metaphorically to a superhuman realm, are the ultimate symbol of a ballerina's ethereality and hard work. For students, receiving a first pair of pointe shoes is a rite of passage. The shoes carry an almost mystical allure: They're an endless source of lore and ritual, with tips, tricks and stories passed down over generations.

The history of pointe shoes reveals how a delicately darned slipper introduced in the 1820s has transformed into a technical tool that offers dancers the utmost freedom onstage today.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
La'Toya Princess Jackson, Courtesy MoBBallet

Join Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet for Its 2020 Virtual Symposium

Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet, founded in 2015 by writer and activist Theresa Ruth Howard to preserve and promote the stories of Black ballet dancers, is offering three weekends of interactive education and conversation this month through its 2020 Virtual Symposium. The conference, titled "Education, Communication, Restoration," encourages participants to engage in candid discussions concerning racial inequality and social justice in ballet. While it is a space that centers on Blackness, all are welcome. Held August 14, 15, 21, 22 and 28, MoBBallet's second annual symposium will allow dancers to receive mentorship and openly speak about their personal experiences in a safe and empowering environment.

The first event, For Us By Us (FUBU) Town Hall, is a free community discussion on August 14 from 3:30–4:30 pm EDT via Zoom, followed by a forum for ballet leadership. The town hall format encourages active engagement (participants can raise their hands and respond in real time), but the registration invoice also contains a form for submitting questions in advance. The following discussions, forums and presentations include topics like company life as a Black dancer, developing personal activism, issues of equity and colorism in ballet companies, and more. Tickets range from free to $12 for each 60- to 80-minute event.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Revisiting Pointe's Past Cover Stars: Adji Cissoko (August/September 2011)

We revisited some of Pointe's past cover stars for their take on how life—and ballet—has changed.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks