How to Create a Dance Reel

Hello loves! Today is day 25 (maybe?) of quarantine for me, and as I sit here and work on my application materials for graduate school, I realized I had to update my dance reel. Since interviews and auditions are now going to be virtual, I may be able to have my digital audition waived if I send them my updated dance reel. That being said, I haven’t touched my dance reel since late 2017 or early 2018. Two years has brought with it a ton of performance opportunity, rehearsal, and corresponding footage to add to my reel.

My brother used to have Adobe Premier Pro, which I used to create my dance reel the first few times in 2016 and 2017. If you have access to Adobe Premier Pro, I HIGHLY suggest you use that software. It is one of the best video editing softwares I’ve ever used. However, any software that can handle large files will do. Your reel doesn’t need a lot of effects or complicated edits.

Right now, my brother only has access to Adobe Premier Rush, which is a basic editing version of Premiere Pro. As I adjust to using a not-as-fancy software, I wanted to share with you that you can still use basic softwares to create a professional reel.

Bound” Borne Dance Company
The Secret Theater NYC

Here are my tips for creating a kick-ass dance reel!

  1. Choose a theme for your reel. If you need a reel for a teaching position, you want the reel to include class videos of you instructing, your choreography, you demonstrating in class, and giving students corrections. If you need a reel to audition for a role on Broadway, you want to showcase your more commercial styles of dance – jazz, tap, theater – and maybe include footage of you dancing in dance heels or other footwear you might be expected to wear if you were to land the gig. If you are a contemporary dancer and want to audition for a contemporary group, you would want to include footage of you dancing modern/contemporary styles, some improvisation footage, and maybe partnering. You can make multiple reels, and a lot of dancers do this to keep them all separate and concise. Determine your desired job, and then create from there.
  2. Access decent video editing software. As mentioned above, you don’t need software with a bunch of fancy tools. Adobe Premier Pro is wonderful because you can add arrows to your clips to indicate where you are on stage if the footage is of you in a group. With Adobe Premiere Rush, I am not able to add arrows. But instead, I chose clips where I am clearly in the shot and that is clear I am the person dancing. I also can add titles to the clip to explain the name of the piece, what group I was performing with, and the theater I was dancing in.
  3. Choose clips that are clear and showcase your best technique. I cannot stress this enough – but chose clips in a high resolution, where your form, face, and shape are discernible from the background/other dancers. You want to keep the clips short, and you don’t want the director taking each 5-15 second clip just to figure out where you are in the shot.
  4. Choose short clips. See above! You want to be distinguished from the rest of the shot, and you do not want the clips to be so long that the director or viewer become bored. You don’t need to showcase all 45 min of your favorite performance. Your favorite moment or moments will do just fine!
  5. Mute the audio on all video clips. You want to choose one audio track for the entire reel. Multiple audio tracks cutting in and out from clip to clip is distracting and looks unprofessional. Mute everything, and choose the right track to put over it!
  6. Choose engaging audio! You do not want to choose a very popular track (such as a song on the radio). Think of your reel and what fits best with what you are showcasing. Instrumentals are a great place to start for any type of reel. You want something dynamic and engaging, but not overpowering where it distracts from the footage. Also, keep songs appropriate. If your audio of choice does include lyrics, make sure it’s a clean track with no offensive lyrics.
  7. Transitions between clips should be simple. A classic “Cross fade” transition is very useful for reels. Its clean, and lets the videos flow organically into one another. Plus, almost every video editing software no matter how basic has this option. Keep the transitions consistent throughout the video if you can (use just one), and avoid any glaring transitions that distract from the clips.
  8. Keep your length short! The entire reel show not exceed three and a half (3.5) minutes. A five minute dance reel is just way too long for an individual. This is why it is good to make separate reels for separate jobs. Additionally, a choreographer or director will know how you move about a minute into your reel. Anything longer than 3.5 minutes they might not even look at.
PC: Dovitsky NYC
Bound” Borne Dance Company

Hopefully you found these tips helpful! As you create your reel, also make sure your personality shines through. You can choose text font styles, colors, etc. that you like. Just remember, keep those choices consistent throughout, and make sure they are not distracting from what is happening on screen. I will hopefully be finishing my new reel soon, and I will post the final version into a post on here once I am done.

Thank you for reading, and if you are taking this quarantine time to catch up on needed reel updates, I wish you well in your creations!

xoxo

Final Performances of 2018

As 2018 winds down, the curtain just closed on my last performance of 2018. I finished out the year with my one company’s annual Nutcracker Tea – an abbreviated version of Act II of the full-length Nutcracker. Guests are invited to eat sweets and pastries as they drink tea and coffee and watch the main company and the student company perform. It was so much fun, and I enjoy performing the Nutcracker for all of it’s magic and for the beautiful music.

This tea is most suitable for young kids, as we also have “fairy makeovers” available to them before the show, and they have the option to sit up front and close at the children’s seating right in front of the black box stage. Their eyes are usually so excited and curious as they watch everyone perform. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing you’re inspiring young kids, and I imagine this is similar to what people working at Disney feel like. I would still love to work for the Disney company one day. 

Other than Nutcracker, I performed in the gala for another company as their season opener on December 1. It was more of a wine and dine event for donors and patrons, but we performed a short, groovy dance for the attendees which was located at a really cute NYC dinner theater on West 72nd street. Lady Gaga apparently performed at this same theater before she became super famous, so it was kind of cool to think about that while having my own experience at the venue.

I have a few performances lined up for the new year already, as well as some auditions!! I’ll be performing a solo I’m choreographing at a showcase in March (which will be my first solo EVER!!), and I think we are going to be rehearsing for a full-length Cinderella ballet for May/June. The second week of January, I also have auditions for Disney World Orlando, and Royal Caribbean. They are open calls, so I’m expecting to be waiting a while as there are usually 400-600 people who show up for open calls. I will be re-auditioning for the Rockettes’ Summer Program in January or February as well, and hopefully more opportunities will be available soon. I can’t wait!

Related: Rockettes Mini Intensive – I Was Invited!

Voices of Dance Festival  The Tank Theater NYC
September 2018

2018 was filled with many successes, adventures, leaps of faith, and new experiences. Although checkered by heart break and some failure, I’d say for what it was, I made 2018 the best I possibly could given my circumstances. I am looking forward to burying 2018 in the past, and moving forward into 2019 happier, healthier, stronger, and way more excited for the future.

xoxo

Halfway Through ADF – I’m SO Inspired!

Hello everyone!

I am officially three weeks into the American Dance Festival, and I am SO grateful to be here! I am having the time of my life! This experience is helping me find myself, work through obstacles I have not been dealing with effectively, and is bettering my technique. All of this is happening while I am training, growing stronger mentally and physically, and being inspired left and right!

I’ve met some amazing people/dancers, and this environment is incredibly supportive, safe, and creative. I love how immersed I am in dance and art, and I cannot express enough how truly thankful I am for the opportunity to be here this summer.

I wanted to share with you all some photos I took within the last three weeks! It is amazing how quickly time is passing, and I really want it to slow down! The first week I was here, I was able to take some fun photos at the Duke University Chapel!

Today, I went to the Nasher Museum of Art of Duke’s West Campus for their presentation of “Movies by Movers“, which is a series of dance films they present throughout the weekends of the summer intensive. Today was the first day, and the films I viewed were stunning. I left the museum theater feeling introspective and thoughtful.

You can view the list of  “Movies by Movers” at this link: ADF Dance Film Festival Line Up

At the Nasher, I visited their gift shop and found some beautiful post cards with prints of artwork featured in the museum on them! I am in love with the one on the top left of my picture (your left!). It is called “Places to Love For”, and I was immediately drawn to it. She looks like a dancer, but even if the woman depicted is not, I feel like the painting has a lot of movement to it, even though she is portrayed standing still. I wish the museum sold a full-size replica print or poster because I would have bought one for my room! Instead, I bought four different post cards that I am going to frame and hang on my bedroom walls when I go home!

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I am also collaborating with a visual artist while I am down here! He is based out of Raleigh, NC and I am modeling for him for a project he is working on, and in exchange, he photographed some headshots and dance photos for free for me to use for auditions and dance projects when I am back home in NJ/NY. I CANNOT wait for those photos to be released so I can share them with you all! They came out so great, and we worked for a while on them! We have another photo shoot scheduled for his projects too, which will be super awesome to see the final result when he is done manipulating the images.

Living down here on my own and navigating this festival is changing my life, and I have a feeling when I return home I will be a better version of myself.  Dance has ALWAYS been the one constant in my life, and the American Dance Festival is confirming my belief that dance is my path to journey down in this lifetime. I am forever grateful for this art form and the community surrounding it.

I will update you all soon! I can’t wait to share my other adventures and projects with you all!

xoxo

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