The profession of choreography is constantly evolving, and openings in the industry are becoming more sought after. Many people have difficulty breaking into the field, and those who are successful are often in high demand. Though not an easy path, choreography presents several career opportunities with a great deal of autonomy and creative freedom.
Below we’ve combined a list of 10 effective tips for everyone who wants to make a career in Choreography:
10 Effective Tips to Make a Career in Choreography
1. Determine Your Goals and Where You Want to Be
Setting goals and objectives require a very specific set of skills, including the ability to prioritize. Is it important to you to perform professionally, or do you want to pursue a career as a choreographer at a smaller theater? Or perhaps you want both. Being able to accurately visualize your goals will help you determine what type of career path is best suited for your personal interests and skills.
2. Find Support
There is no more important relationship during the early stages of your career than your relationships with potential employers. Your decisions about what to do and where to go are based on the information you get from those who will hire you. If a job posting requires an industry presentation, be ready with a video or slideshow. It’s always better to have too much than not enough, so make sure that you have something new and fresh every time you send out a resume or update your portfolio.
3. Don’t Settle
It’s important to know your value and to be prepared to walk away from a deal if it feels wrong. There are many instances where people take jobs they aren’t interested in because they need the money or the experience. Don’t compromise your career and your happiness for something that you don’t really want or feel passionate about. Don’t settle for something that doesn’t feel right just because you need the money or it makes sense at the time. You can always find other ways to fill your time and resources.
4. Teach and Direct
Teaching is a great way to learn how to speak about your work in public, as well as develop a public persona for yourself. Teaching is also a good way to gain experience in rehearsing students. Teaching experience can help when applying for directorial positions at smaller companies that don’t have the resources or funding to hire a full-time rehearsal director or when applying for jobs that require teaching the technical vocabulary of specific choreographic styles.
5. Get experience
The best way to get experience is to take risks. Take a class that is outside your comfort level in a style that you aren’t familiar with. Learn how to teach other styles, and be prepared to share what you learned about your process with the class. Take on responsibilities in an organization or company that require you to step outside of your comfort zone. Volunteering for extra work is an easy way of getting involved, but only if you are willing to do something beyond what’s expected. Show up early, stay late, and offer to help out with any jobs that need extra hands, even if they aren’t directly related to your main responsibility.
6. Build a Portfolio
After you’ve been teaching and performing for a while, you’ll probably want to start thinking about making a portfolio. Your portfolio will be the culmination of everything that you have created up until this point in your career. Your portfolio should consist of still images from performances and rehearsals, notes and sketches from movement analysis sessions, programs from performances, video excerpts, letters of recommendation, and any other documentation that might help potential employers gain insight into your skill level.
7. Write a Resume
The fact is that most resumes are required in the employment application process, and you will not even be considered without one. A resume is a way that you introduce yourself to an employer, so make sure to put your best foot forward. If you are applying for a teaching position, then focus on your teaching experience and skill set instead of how many performances you’ve had or how many professional credits you’ve accumulated.
8. Accept Rejection
Some people have the idea that they should never be rejected by an employer. It’s true that there are many times when an employer will offer work to someone without even sending a formal offer, but this does not mean that you should stay quiet if you haven’t presented yourself well. When you’re looking for work, it’s important to remember that there are many more opportunities out there if you keep your head up and continue working hard toward your goal.
Networking has become a dirty word in recent years because of its association with overly aggressive sales tactics and people who seem desperate for work. There is a strong stigma against networking among many dancers, but it’s a necessary part of the job search process, especially at smaller companies where the staff size is small. Networking is not about seeking out people with whom you can do business; it’s about building relationships that you can use in the future.
10. Accept an Offer
When possible, always accept an offer that has already been made before going out on your own looking for work (this is known as waiting out a competing offer ). However, if you have to make a decision immediately between taking another job and going out on your own, then it’s usually better to take the job so that you can start searching for other opportunities sooner rather than later.
The Final Word
When you go out on your own, there are many important decisions to be made, so make sure that you have all of the information that you need and understand what it means for your career. The more prepared and knowledgeable you are, the more options will become available to you, and the less time will be wasted locating the right fit for your work style.
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