It should probably come as no surprise that, much like any other artists in the entertainment industry, dancers have agency representation. And just like acting, sports, or the literary world, there is a lot of competition to get noticed and signed by a good agency. However, similar to agencies in those other disciplines, dance agents also spend a lot of time looking for just the right kind of talent. And that talent could be you. Here are a few tips on getting noticed and signed by an agency.
Practice Makes Perfect
“How do you get to Carnegie Hall?”
It might be old and corny, but there’s a lot of truth in that joke. And there is certainly no exception when it comes to dancing. Nothing is more important than practice. And we’re not just talking about fundamentals here. When you audition for an agency you might be asked to do any number of moves in a wide variety of styles, so you don’t want to be caught slipping. Start with what you know, and then branch outwards. Once you have your comfort zone established, take some classes in styles that you are unfamiliar with. Get comfortable with a lot of different disciplines of dance, and put in the work perfecting your approach. There’s simply no shortcut here, you have to learn and practice a lot to make the cut.
Dress for Success
Remember, you are there to shine. You want to be seen and you want to be appreciated. You want to turn heads, and once those heads are turned you want to back up their interest with your talent. When you are auditioning, wear something that looks good on you and feels good when you move. Don’t go too flashy if it’s confining or not true to your own style, just try to be you (and if that is flashy, do it!). Dark, form-hugging, stretchable clothes that your body can breathe in with just the right amount of fun, colorful accents can go a long way in an audition. You are showcasing yourself, your body, your attitude, and your moves. Make sure that your fashion sense reflects that.
Location, Location, Location
Understand that just like in the world of real estate, nothing is more important to recognize than the importance of location. The top agencies will be in cities, or major metropolitan cultural centers. In the United States that means Los Angeles or New York City. This isn’t to say that there aren’t any rags to riches stories left out there…far from it. You can come from the boondocks and still find success in the big city. But to make it you have to be willing to move or travel to the places where the talent and talent scouts call home.
Learn from Rejection
It’s a truism that we often find our greatest strengths in the face of setbacks and adversity. This is absolutely the case when it comes to professional dance. Don’t be hurt if you don’t get the callback from your first, or even fifth, audition. Learn to accept rejection and turn it into a positive experience. Make full use of every audition to network, pick up tips, and learn the ropes. Ask questions when appropriate and pay close attention to any and all feedback that comes your way. This might be hard, but take your ego out of it and focus on what you can do to improve. Rejection also isn’t personal! In the world of entertainment, it may just be that your style wasn’t right for that particular project’s vision. They can always bring you back for future auditions if they liked what you did! Every success story tells the tale of a thousand hidden falls, scrapes, and failures. Learn to learn from your mistakes.
Let Your Fingers Do The Walking
Do your research. It’s not only up to you to find out where the auditions are being held by which agencies, but to also see if some agencies might be a better fit for you than others. These people will be representing you to the professional world, so it doesn’t hurt to make sure that you have found the right representation. In fact, it’s one of the most important things that you can do. Scour the internet, look up reviews, see who represents some of your favorite dancers, and network and ask around among the dance community about who is out there and what they do best. Do your homework, like practice, you almost can’t do too much and there is nothing that can replace it in terms of sheer value. To get you started, some of the top dance agencies in Los Angeles and New York are MSA, Bloc, Movement Talent, and Clear Talent Group.
Finally, make sure that when you interact with instructors, agents, choreographers, and other dancers, you are not just making small talk but networking. No connection beats the old-fashioned human connection. A lot of dancers get noticed because they consistently worked with, and attended the classes of, certain choreographers who then vouch for them with a specific agency. If you show up consistently and continue to perform, you will be noticed! So when you discuss opportunities, look for leads, or share information, make sure that you are listening too. Reciprocate with your communication and you will get back tenfold what you put out there. Good luck.