Friday, July 23, 2010

NY Times Article - Ballerina for Hire

Ballerina for Hire
Check out this article that ran in the NY Times this month, "Ballerina for Hire." It tells of the harsh realities of trying to make it as a freelance dancer and ballerina in New York City. Getting to the top is not at all glamorous, and is only reserved for those with iron wills, dedication and sheer determination. Nevermind talent! The ballerina featured in this article only made $25,000 last year dancing with the Rockettes and a union job. Yet, she's truly talented and smart, having earned a master's degree in publishing, she's even interned at Pointe Magazine.

I couldn't help but wonder why life in the arts must sometimes be so degrading and hard. Isn't here another way? I worked in corporate America for two years with a comfortable salary, excellent benefits, paid vacation and holidays, and job security. But it didn't matter because it was empty for me. My heart wasn't into it and I was no longer fulfilled. Now back in the dance world, I'm making about the same an hour, but have no paid vacations or holidays, absolutely no benefits, a significant amount of unpaid time outside the studio planning and choreographing, and no pay for time spent working at performances! I sometimes ask myself why I chose this path, but there is nothing like the high of performing or of sharing my passion and love with my dance students.

Most accomplished dancers and teachers have been dancing since childhood and therefore have as much experience and training as someone with a graduate degree or higher. Yet, dancers and other performers struggle through dehumanizing, cattle call auditions, little pay, no health coverage (amidst injuries), and not much job security, all for the thrill of the stage, the lights, and the pride of accomplishment. Why do you do it? Send me your stories!

Read more about how the freelance ballerina survives...
Ballerina for Hire

Thursday, July 22, 2010

National Dance Day - July 31

It's time to really get excited about National Dance Day! What exactly is it? Many of us rabid "So You Think You Can Dance" fans are already clued in, but it was started by SYTYCD producer and judge, Nigel Lythgoe, as a day to get the country to move and raise awareness for dance. What a fabulous idea! Dance is finally getting the attention it deserves, thanks to T.V. shows like SYTYCD and "Dancing with the Stars."

So, here's the deal. It's only 10 days away, Saturday, July 31, and is a great opportunity for you to get your friends, family, dance studio, and fellow dance friends together to have a dance party. Get creative and submit your ideas to: Once you submit, you may see a SYTYCD camera crew at your event and be featured on the show!!

Don't forget to learn the hip-hop routine choreographed by the awesome NappyTabs duo to dance on the big day. Check out the video:

Here's a bit more info on the day, from the SYTYCD website;

WHAT: NATIONAL DANCE DAY, a grassroots initiative that encourages the nation, young and old, to move!  Individuals, families, organizations and communities from across the nation come together through their creative expression in dance.  Any style of dance is welcome and imagination is recommended in order to get the most out of this celebratory day.

WHY: To continue to generate national awareness for dance, a medium of expression and storytelling which, through shows like So You Think You Can Dance, has proven its value in bringing individuals from all walks of life together through a positive platform that has no boundaries and cultivates imagination and passion. Most importantly, the day is intended to promote health and wellness nationwide.

Nigel has been tweeting up a storm about National Dance Day, a.k.a. D-Day. He said the goal is to “prove that the ‘Power of Dance’ can MOVE an entire Country!” So get up off the couch and put on your dancing shoes on July 31st. Share your D-Day ideas in the SYTYCD forums and stay tuned to this site for more information to come.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Twilex - More please!

It's been almost two days since "So You Think You Can Dance" aired, and I still can't get Alex and Twitch's hip-hop routine out of my head! Who knew a ballet dude could thrust his hips like a gansta? It was ingenious choreography from the hottest hip-hop team out there - NappyTabs (Napoleon and Tabitha).

Here it is again, for your viewing pleasure!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Advice: Establishing Authority as a Young Teacher

This article from Dance Teacher Magazine offers some excellent advice on how young teachers can still be respected by students who are close to their age. Advice like establish boundries by staying professional, always come prepared, keep a watchful eye on the students by giving them corrections, get more education, and keep your cool when you make a mistake.

You can be professional by being "approchable, but not friendly," the article reads. Also, be cautious outside of the classroom as well by declining invitations to social events with your students or social networking online.

Coming to class prepared cannot be stressed enough. Knowing the combinations you're going to give and having music prepared will boost your own confidence, which will also boost your authority.

The article also stresses the importance of keeping yourself educated by attending workshops, going back to school, and getting educated on anatomy and the science of the body. One well-respected dance teacher certification program that only requires one week a year is Dance Master's of America.

To read the original article, "Theory and Practice: Become an Authority,"click here.

Daniel Ulbricht, NYCB principal, teaching a class at the Rock School