Dance Competition Survival Kit

Dance_sports_bag_large_Energetiks_DB21_Blk_turquoise__79496.1405440585.1280.1280For most studios, competition season is done, and it is the beginning of dancers going off to summer intensives.  So, this post is really to prep you for the Fall season and get you ahead of the curve.  You should have three types of bags walking into every competition.

First and most important is you dance bag. This bag should include every type of dance shoe you own.  Don’t take a risk that even if you don’t need a certain shoe, don’t take them out of your bag. You never know when a fellow dance may have forgotten his/her shoes and you happen to be a perfect match for their feet.  At that point, you’d be able to come in like superman and save the day.  Second, you should always have a small first aid kit including neosporin, band-aids, medical tape, gauze, peroxide, and an ice pack. It may sound silly to have something like this in your bag, but having cut myself more then once at a competition I had to keep learning the same lesson multiple times.  Third thing is extra tights.  Tights are constantly getting runs in them, and you never know when you are going to snag them on a piece of wood of the stage in the middle of a performance and they become unfix-able.  Fourth thing is a change of clothes, because who seriously wants to be constricted by tights or have to explain yourself when you walk into some place public like a restaurant? No one.  Final and fifth thing in your dance bag should be multiple bottles of water.  Always stay hydrated.  Find where the closest water fountain is and continue to refill as needed.

caboodleThe next thing you should have is a caboodle.  I’m not sure if that is what they call it anymore, but it is basically a makeup case.  It has every kind of makeup from foundation to eye shadows to lipsticks, to eyebrow pencils.  Being a competition kid you learn about various kinds of makeup at a young age.  You should also have miscellaneous items, like tweezers, nail clipper, clear nail polish (to stop runs in tights), make up remover, cue-tips, cotton balls, and nail polish remover.  This little kit was everything that was needed to make me not look washed out under the harsh lighting on stage.  I have very fair skin, so I had to wear a lot of makeup…I always felt like I had to shower three times before I could get it all off my face.

Third and final bag is your food survival bag.  I wish I had known now, what I didn’t know then about food, because I feel like I would have had more energy at shows and better eating habits as an adult.  Anyway, don’t have your parents or another parent get you fast food like burgers, french fries, chicken nuggets, or soda.  You are not helping yourself in anyway!  Bring nuts, apples, bananas, water, Zero Vitamin Water, and veggies that you can pick at in Tupperware.  Don’t, and I repeat do not eat starbursts and goldfish all day.  It will give you a high and then you will seriously crash and feel like crap.

Do yourself a favor and follow my bag rule. You will be a much happier dancer, performer, and student.

Careers in Dance – There is More to Dance then Being a Performer

11412211_10100594299141981_7579294585861180014_n (2)Recently at a baby shower, my college friends and I were reminiscing about the past, the choices we have made after college, and where the future is headed.  In life everyone makes choices and it is a rarity that everyone can have it all.  A college dance friend is currently seven months pregnant, another dance friend is getting married this fall, and I have aged one more year closer to thirty.  Do I believe that you can create your own destiny?  Absolutely, but anyone who is successful will explain the sacrifice they had to go through to get there, and as a performer there is a lot of sacrifice.  As a performer you could be struggling in a big city like Los Angeles or New York working from stipend to stipend or contract to contract.  Performers are also working multiple jobs like bartendering, serving, or being a hostess, but there is more potential in the dance field than just being a performer.

First you could become an instructor. At dance studios, a person with extensive dance training can command $15-$30 an hour depending on if you are living in a big city or a small town.  There are also opportunities to teach at high school and college levels, but teaching at either level requires you to have a masters in dance education as well as specific certification.  If you have an extensive performance background this might get over looked at certain colleges if you decide to teach at the college level.

Besides teaching, you could go the health route.  Get certified in Yoga, personal training, Pilates, or massage therapy.  These jobs will allow you to work and coach athletes such as dancers in their cross training endeavors to keep their bodies up to par during their performance years.  A few friends of mine are doing both, still performing as well as doing some health related job so they can make money and live in the expensive room that they are renting for $1200/ month in NYC.

Finally, there is arts administration. Granted you can get a masters degree in arts administration, which I have, but if this is a field that you want to get into there are ways around getting a masters degree. For example, I did an internship in communications and development at a small organization of two people called the Natasha Trifian’s Performance Group in NYC before I was hired at another company as the Assistant to the School Director.  From there I moved up in the organization and eventually moved to another organization when I stepped into a new city. With arts administration you can also go the for-profit/ commercial route working at talent agencies, booking agencies, publicists, and performing arts center presenters.

If you haven’t figured it out the possibilities are endless. Limiting yourself as only a performer can be career ending.  Think ahead, and know that with the right moves, a good head on your shoulders, and some drive you are already ahead of 80% of the general population.