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November/December Topic- Protecting yourself as a Freelance Dancer

Posted by mstiffy on December 7, 2009 at 5:36 PM

So you have decided to put yourself out there as a freelance dancer, meaning you are not tied to a specific company or organization. There are a few things that you need to know before taking the jump into the life of freelance.


  • Be ready for the audition process Here is a short article written by Treva Bedinghaus entitled "Survive a Dance Audition" via


A dance audition can be intimidating. Whether you are auditioning for a dance company, a major performance, or placement within your dance school, auditions bring out the butterflies in everyone. Even professional dancers feel the pressure as they pin their audition numbers onto their leotards. However, being a little nervous can actually be beneficial, as nerves sometimes enable us to jump higher, or spin faster. The following 5 tips will help you dance through your next audition with flying colors.

1. Be Prepared

Make sure you have everything you will need for the audition. Check the application carefully, following every requirement. If the audition requires a fee, remember to take it. Some auditions have strict dress codes. If there is no dress code, keep it simple. Pick an outfit you feel good dancing in. (Don't be afraid to wear something that distinguishes you from the other dancers, such as a bright-colored leotard. It's okay to stand out!)

Bring proper shoes, band-aids or moleskin, hair pins and water to drink. Having everything you need will help you feel confident when auditioning.

2. Arrive on Time

Plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before the audition begins, maybe even earlier. You will appreciate having the extra time to check out your surroundings if you are not familiar with the location. Use the time to warm up, stretch, and get focused. Try not to notice the other dancers as they arrive, as they may make you nervous. Concentrate on preparing yourself, both physically and mentally. You will have a better audition if you are relaxed and ready..

3. Stand in the Front

Try to grab a spot in the front of the room. Don't hide in the back while the instructor is teaching the choreography. Judges will be watching the room, seeing who learns the combinations the fastest. Show them that you can learn the routine quickly and independently. Sometimes judges will pick dancers who are the quickest learners, not necessarily the best dancers.

Standing in the front of the room also shows confidence. Dancers who prefer to stand in the back are often followers, relying on the front row of dancers to guide them through combinations. Show the judges that you are a leader - stand in the front.

4. Ask Questions

If you are unsure about a combination or step, don't be afraid to ask questions. It will show the judges that you want to do your best. The judges will not frown upon dancers who ask for help. Asking for clarification is never considered a sign of weakness. Make sure and ask questions in a professional and serious manner. Pay attention, making sure that questions you do ask have not already been answered..

5. Stay Positive

Most dance auditions are extremely competitive. Remember that you won't be selected every time, and rejection doesn't mean that you are a bad dancer. Judges are often looking for specific qualities: a specific height, a certain hair color, etc. Never assume that you were rejected because of a lack of talent or technique.

Try your best to stay positive during the audition. Be yourself and dance your very best. Even if you are nervous, don't let the judges know it. Smile and show them how much you enjoy dancing. People enjoy watching dancers who love what they do. Relax, smile and believe in yourself, no matter how nervous you may be. And remember, auditions will get easier.

  • Be careful with agents You may at some point be approached by an agency wanting to represent you or vice versa. This is great and can be helpful with booking gigs, but always be cautious. Never sign anything without thoroughly reading the material, or even having a lawyer look through it. You may be signing your life away and not know it. Really do your homework. Check out the agency and what they have to offer. Ask questions and never feel embarrassed about asking too many questions. It can only help you in the end. Just keep in mind, that some agencies are very protective of their clients and will not allow you to go to auditions that are not exclusively booked through them. Make sure to get all the info upfront and go from there. If you feel the least bit uncomfortable do not do it!

Being a freelance dancer can be fun and very rewarding. You just need to make sure you have the proper tools to protect yourself. Remember, every gig that comes you way does not have to be auditioned for. It's ok to turn one down. Never feel guilty about not auditioning for something. Only you know what you want and what you are looking for.  Always stay positivie and dance your heart out!


This is an open blog. Any input or questions are welcome. Stay tuned for our first topic of the new year! Keep dancing!

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