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10 Ways To Prepare Your Dancer For A Professional Career - That Aren't Taught In A Dance Studio!

13 May 2016 5:30 PMLauren Nairne
10 Ways To Prepare Your Dancer For A Professional Career - That Aren't Taught In A Dance Studio!

 

 

  1. Value for money

 

Money doesn't grow on trees and although it may be a difficult lesson to teach, I truly believe that it's one of the most important, if not the most important lesson you can teach your children before they embark on a career in the arts. The problem with our industry is that one day the money may be great, and the pay from a big gig will come through, and the next 3 months you’re back in a job that pays just your expenses and not much else. Teach your kids not only the value of money, but also how to manage it too. Trust me, in those down months they will thank you!

 

  1. Independence

 

Does your dancer knows how to turn on the washing machine, or how to stack a dishwasher? Even ironing their clothes will be something they may never have done before. It's not only that I think these are basic skills they will need, but it's also a chance to do your part in not adding any extra stress to your dancer. When they already know how to do these things, they won't be stressors anymore. They will be stressed enough with moving out, making new friends, worrying about money, learning new choreography or adjusting to a new job. Let's make sure they don't need to be anxious on how they do their washing too.

 

  1. Confidence to speak for themselves

 

The next time you walk into a store and you’re looking for something specific, get your dancer to ask for assistance, directions or help. Not only will the ability to communicate confidently will help them when they are living independently, but it will also equip them with the skills they need to confidently answer any questions they may be asked in workshops, auditions and/or castings!

 

  1. Conflict resolution

 

It's definitely not about arguing or standing up for themselves; it's more than that. It's about finding a resolution to a problem when it arises; to move on and past it quickly with limited fuss.

 

  1. Nutrition

 

For most dancers, the concept of always looking and feeling your best is the reality if you want to work in this industry. It's not about how fat or thin you are, but it's more about being at your personal best both mentally and physically. Having energy, looking bright, and being well rested all comes down to whether your dancer makes smart and healthy nutritional choices. Encourage them to make their own lunch and talk to them about their choices... It won't kill them!

 

  1. Business Management  

 

Do they know how to write and invoice, or what receipts to keep for tax purposes? All things that dancers embark on their first professional job need to know. Teach and discuss it with them. If we don't, then who will? If they are running on their personal ABN, do they need to put money away for tax? (something that's not easy to do in your early 20s).

 

  1. Street Sense/ Common sense

 

Always put your passport in the hotel safe, never carry large amount of cash on overseas day trips. Have you photographed your passport lately? Do you know all your emergency contact numbers if something happens or your phone gets stolen? Hold your bag tight in overseas countries because pickpocket isn't  just a song from Oliver, but a real problem in some parts of the world.

 

  1. Hygiene

 

Shower... Everyday.  Shower... Before and after class/rehearsals. Brush your teeth and wear deodorant. Dancers especially teens need to remember that dance is an art often executed in the personal space of someone else. Remember, nobody needs to get a wafting sniff of your four-day-old ballet tights because you haven't washed them or you’re out of deodorant and haven't made it to the shops yet. 

 

 

  1. Personal Space

 

Cleaning your room takes on a whole new meaning when you’re sharing a room on a cruise ship no bigger than a walk-in wardrobe. You have to put things in their place. You can't dump your stuff on the floor and hope for the best. In lots of share accommodation and dorm facilities, your dancer’s personal space is shared. They need to respect their own personal space and that of their roommates. Same can be said for backstage areas and dressing room facilities. Pick your undies up off the floor please!!!

 

  1. Self-Worth

 

Let’s teach our kids to trust themselves, to believe in their dreams and chase them. Teach them that they are worthy, and even when they may get knocked back, it wasn't a direct reflection of who they'd be as a person. It's just they weren't right for that job. There will be others. Teach them to respect themselves, and those around them. To live in the moment and know anything is possible. This industry is full of ups and downs. Take the good with the bad and always learn from your mistakes. 

 

                                I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul - Oprah