Dance is a very internal community. The more people you know in the industry the easier it is to find job openings (artistic and administrative), best locations to take classes based on style, teaching opportunities to increase your revenue or experience as an artist, space rentals, or to see some great dance performances. I have been living in Boston, Massachusetts for the last three years and even though I believe that if you are looking for a career as a dancer you are better off long-term in New York City or Los Angeles, Boston is a spring board for those not sure if you want to make the big leap to those intimidating cities.
There is a website called Boston Dance Alliance, which is a great starting point for any new dancer in the area, or someone trying to get more involved in the Boston dance community. You can find any numerous opportunities from auditions and choreography gigs to fellowships, performance venues, and teaching prospects. If you are looking for classes check out places such as the Dance Complex or Green Street Studios. Both are in Cambridge, but are well worth the trip. They have affordable classes that range from $9 to $15 depending on the instructor and a variety of dance styles to chose. Unfortunately they do not take credit cards because you pay the instructor directly, but they do accept cash or check in most cases. If you are a beginner, not a problem, they have beginner and advance classes in each style of dance and everyone who takes class is always supportive, friendly, and approachable. If you are short on funds check out the work-study program the Dance Complex has for incoming students. These positions are tough to come by and sometimes takes a few months till something becomes available, but hey what in life comes easy that is worth it?
If you are looking for more consistency in classes check out Urbanity Dance for hip-hop, contemporary, world dance, and Yoga. Urbanity Dance is a prominent company with an epic director named Betsi Graves who has an extraordinary background commissioning work all over the country, winning choreographic awards, and was selected by Mia Michaels to tour on a full scholarship with LA Underground when she was only seventeen. Graves company has been around for about six years and is definitely a force to be reckoned with in the Boston area. She has brought more contemporary dance into the community by starting the Boston Contemporary Dance Festival two years ago, which has brought artists from Canada, New York, Texas, Florida, Rhode Island, and all over Massachusetts to present and mingle with other artists in the area. Also, check out Urbanity Dance performances throughout the year. Next performance in Boston is at the ICA in February through World Music/ CRASHArts.
You can’t go to class without looking like you should be there right? In my opinion you don’t need to buy fancy leotards and warm ups as long as your clothes are comfortable, form-fitting, and you can move without feeling restricted. I am sure every fourteen year old that I danced with which is literally half my age now (wow I’m old) would disagree with me. So, for those of you willing to spend some money on dance clothes and/ or shoes check out Dancer’s Image (Newton, MA) or Back Bay Dancewear (Burlington, MA). For those you looking for pointe shoes, both locations have pointe shoe specialists that can help you find the right shoe for your type of feet. Not all pointe shoes are the same, but that is another story.
I literally spent my entire life in a dance studio growing up and I miss not dancing everyday, but at least I have the opportunity to dance when it fits into my schedule and not totally break the bank. So the next time someone looks at you all weird and ask you why you dance just respond why do I breathe.