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

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Staying Organized and Marketing Yourself as a Dance Professional

Hi everybody!

As you all know, I am trying to break into the dance industry as a professional performer and as a respected dance educator. I’ve been learning as I go, and it has been so hectic trying to stay organized on top of all of my responsibilities as a dancer in two companies, and a teacher at four different studios. I will share with you the ways I’ve found to be most effective in keeping my life together! ❤  These tips are focused for dancers, but are helpful for any young professionals trying to break into their own industries!

1. KEEP A BINDER, AGENDA PLANNER, & JOURNAL ON HAND ALL OF THE TIME

This one is a biggie. I cannot tell you how helpful each of these resources are. My binder separates my paperwork for all of my studios. It organizes my class rosters by day and time, separates costume pictures for recital dances, and allows me to keep track of employee agreements and contracts. Furthermore, the binder allows me to keep a portfolio of different class combinations, barre for each level of ballet I teach, and choreography. The agenda planner obviously helps me keep track of commitments, auditions, teaching, private lessons, and rehearsals.

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My journal helps me keep track of all of my ideas for my classes, for my blog, and allows me to create to-do lists. With all of your paperwork organized, you will not only thank yourself for keeping your life in order, but you will appear organized to your employers and directors, and appear as though you take your job seriously (which you should), which is a win for both parties.

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2. KEEP COPIES OF YOUR PERFORMANCE BILLS, RESUME, AND HEADSHOT

I cannot stress ENOUGH how important this is. If you don’t keep track of your performances or choreography showcases, how can you prove to future employers or directors these events actually happened? Also, keeping copies helps you create a precise CV/resume – performance bills usually have choreographer names spelled correctly, and include the name of the piece you danced in, the music, and the names of the other dancers you performed with. This information is pertinent for networking with other dance professionals and creators in the field, and pertinent for updating you’re own CV.

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Keeping extra copies of your headshot and resume is helpful if you have a lot of back-to-back auditions or workshops you’re attending. Sometimes workshop teachers will ask for participants’ headshots and resumes, and having extra copies readily available will only be beneficial to you and to the hiring directors! You never know who you’re going to meet!

3. MAKE BUSINESS CARDS MARKETING YOURSELF AS A PROFESSIONAL

Okay, a lot of dancers (especially emerging professionals) don’t believe they need business cards since dance is not necessarily an “office job”. However, that is actually false! Dance is a business, and a small fraternity at that. I decided earlier in the summer to make business cards for myself and for my blog/Etsy shop. I figured it couldn’t hurt to have them on hand since I was securing a lot of studio jobs and auditions.

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Low and behold, at the dance festival I performed in (see First Professional Performances – I Can’t Believe This Is Real Life), one guy from another company who performed in the show gave me his card and asked me for mine!! Luckily, I had them on hand to distribute! Again, YOU NEVER KNOW WHO YOU WILL MEET! Whether or not these dancers are in the same dance genre as you, networking is so important, and you never know how these people could influence your career later down the line.

4. MAKE A FREE WEBSITE PORTFOLIO DOCUMENTING YOUR DANCE EXPERIENCE

The internet and WordPress are a great way to advertise yourself for free! I use WordPress.com for my blog, and for my professional dance website. Check it out at juliakathryn.dance. You can use one of the readily made templates, and customize it to your liking. You can include a copy of your resume, your dance reel, dance photography, highlight important workshops or dance experiences, and more!

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Furthermore, you can buy a web domain and link it to your free website, so when people search for your site, you have a professional domain to go with it. I bought a few domains and linked them to my free WordPress website from GoDaddy.com. This online portfolio you can link in the signature of your emails, put on your business cards and resume, and you can put it on your social media to direct followers to your professional work.

This concludes my top tips for staying organized and marketing yourself as a dance professional. All of these resources are also cost effective – my planner was $5 from Wal-Mart, the journal was a gift so it was free, the binder I already had with dividers from college, the website is free, my business cards cost about $10 for 100 of my dancer ones, and $15 for my blog ones (because they are square and printed front and back), costing me bout $25 before tax and shipping. My website domains with discounts for a year of ownership was $41 for three domains. An 8inx10in headshot print out costs about $3 from Walgreens.

I hope you enjoyed my top tips! I didn’t realize how important the business side of the dance world was until I graduated college, but these resources have helped me land a lot of jobs in the last six months!! 🙂 I hope they continue to do me well in the months ahead, as I try to break further into this industry as a young professional.

What are your favorite ways to market yourself? Have you tried any of these resources? Let me know if this was helpful!

xoxo

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First Professional Performances – I Can’t Believe This Is Real Life

Hi ladies and gents!

This summer, I have had the opportunity to dance in my first professional productions and dance concerts. I am so grateful for the opportunities I have had, and I cannot wait to see how my career develops over the rest of this year! Anyway, last week I finished a performance series with Introspective Movement Project – a Philly-based contemporary-jazz dance company. Introspective Movement Project (Let’s call it I.M.P. for short) hosted the That Which Connects Festival – a dance festival in Camden, NJ that celebrates the dance community from the the greater Philadelphia and greater New York City areas.

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Three days leading up to the festival, we also hosted a summer intensive for dance students. The intensive allowed the students to train for three very long days in various dance styles. For the students, each day culminated with a three hour rehearsal where my lovely director set a new piece on the students to perform in the festival showcase. This gave the students an opportunity to perform alongside all of the professional companies who were performing in the showcase. That Which Connects attempts to bridge the gap between pre-professional and professional dancers, which I believe is a beautiful convergence.

As a company, we were at the theater everyday rehearsing for a few hours, and we also had the opportunity to take whatever classes we could fit into our day (after rehearsals of course). It was a very exhausting week of traveling, dancing, and rehearsing, however, it was probably one of the best experiences I’ve ever had! It was my first real taste into a professional dance career and lifestyle, and it was awesome!

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I.M.P. ladies – Photography by Marla Wolfinger

I can’t wait to see what is next for I.M.P., and for me as I pursue some other dance opportunities. I really hope I can get more work for the fall and winter season, as I’ve now realized I love the craziness of a professional performer’s life. Each day in rehearsal for the festival, I thought to myself. “I can’t believe this is my life”. Imagine the dream you’ve always had coming true, and multiply it by 10 and that is the awe I felt the week of the festival.

If you asked 17 year old me if I was going to be a professional dancer one day, I would have told you “Maybe, but I don’t know if I’m good enough or if that is what I want”. Now 5 years later, I am officially a professional dancer, and am proud as hell to tell people, “Yes I dance for a living!”.

Never stop believing in the possibility of your dreams because literally anything is possible if you want it bad enough!! ❤

How has your summer dance season been? What performances did you dance in or see? Let me know!

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American Dance Festival Dance Professionals Workshop Sampler

Hi everyone!

Apologies for being M.I.A., I spent 10 days in North Carolina for the American Dance Festival’s (ADF) Dance Professionals Workshop (DPW) Sampler! Back in November, I posted about the American Dance Festival and my application to the program, so you can click on this link and read more about the festival to see what it is all about! (Planning Post-Graduation: American Dance Festival!). ADF is usually held at Duke University, and offers a six week professional training program for dancers ages 18+, and a three week pre-professional training program for dancers ages 13-17. This year, the festival this year is celebrating it’s 40th year in Durham, NC, and the festival itself is over 80 years old!

Let me tell y’all, this experience was life-changing!! The festival exposed me to so many amazing people and dance artists, and I was surrounded by like-minded, focused individuals who all had something special and positive to add to the energy and the art being created in the room. Being a DPW Sampler participant, I was able to drop-in to any classes I wanted! Since this was the first DPW of the summer, it was the second week of classes for the six week school students. For this reason, we were lucky we were able to drop into classes and be in somewhat the same boat as the six week school students in regard to learning new movement material and phrase progressions.

Our sampler involved seven participants (including myself) , plus the workshop leader Nia Love, and her daughter who is also a professional dancer. After a full-day of classes and dancing, our sampler cohort would get together and explore the Duke University Gardens, have lunch together, or have conversations discussing current events and issues followed by structured improvisations. One of the benefits of having a sampler cohort is that it allows you to make friends with students like you who are only there for one week. It helps to have friends to eat meals with, go see the performances with, and go exploring with!

Every night there was a new performance to see, and some performances I saw included Cherdonna Shinatra, Beth Gill, and Pilobolus! The show tickets are complimentary for ADF students (which is amazing), and all of the shows I saw were fantastic in their own way. I think my favorite performance was Pilobolus! Y’all definitely need to go see them if you’re new to the modern dance scene and want a good introduction into concert dance.

I cannot forget to mention Durham is an ADORABLE city!! It has a young vibe, and street artwork is everywhere. As you probably saw on my Instagram, I was enjoying all of the aesthetics the city of Durham offered. These murals are just some of the gorgeous murals I saw during my stay. Local businesses in Durham wave the ADF flag and have ADF posters and postcards hanging in their shop windows. It is amazing that this city supports the arts (and dance!) as much as they do. You don’t really find this kind of culture in many places.

During my stay, I took classes such as Gaga, West African, Afro-contemporary modern technique, improvisation, ballet, yoga, contemporary, modern technique, and Feldenkrais. I met dancers from all over the country and all over the world, and shared thoughtful moments and memories with everyone I met. I sweat my ass off, and walked about 23,000 steps each day (according to my FitBit). The memories and art shared and created at ADF will resonate with me for the rest of my life, and I plan on attending the six week school next summer! ❤

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If you are looking for an affordable summer training program and are serious about improving yourself and pushing your limits, go check out the ADF website for more information. http://www.americandancefestival.org/. The DPW Sampler was an amazing and cost-effective way to train over the summer and gain exposure to new teachers and techniques to help me grow as an artist and a dancer. The six week school is also a great price for the amount of training and time you spend in the studio, in addition to all of the amazing shows and opportunities to perform that are offered to you through the festival.

It is bittersweet my dancing adventure in NC is over, but it has me so motivated to improve myself and focus on the dance projects and companies I am involved with now! More news is to come, and I can’t wait to show y’all what I have been working on! ❤

xoxo until next time

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