Performing Arts & The Dance Industry

Pursuing a career in the arts is known to be extremely difficult. Artists face constant rejection and criticism on a daily basis from casting agencies to directors and even everyday individuals who simply have no respect for the industry. The internet plays an especially huge role in the diminishing of those who have chosen a career in the arts.

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Black and White Light and Shadow Contemporary Dance by Abel M (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Rejection is inevitable. Most artists, especially performing artists are well aware of the competition and rejection that they will face whilst searching for work in their field. As a Dancer I have auditioned for numerous productions in the hopes of showcasing my skills, however, a majority of these auditions were unsuccessful. Even when an audition does have a successful outcome there is still no guarantee that your time and work will be given any financial compensation. Freelance artist Aaron Mattocks (2013) considers three factors when deciding whether or not to work in a project. These factors are: career advancement, personal satisfaction and financial compensation. A project worth participating in should fulfil at least two of these factors (Mattocks, A. 2013, pp 42).

However, those who are truly passionate about their art will look past these issues and continue to follow their passion. Dancing and choreographing has been a passion of mine for over a decade. Whilst studying the processes and techniques established by dance practitioners Alvin Ailey and Merce Cunningham I discovered that I have a high ability to explore and create movement for the human body. I do not have a complex and scholarly reason for why I wish to pursue this line of work. Simply put, I am extremely passionate about composing movement and it is this passion which motivates me to work hard and gain the skills which are required in order to succeed as a choreographer.

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Masterclass with Alvin Ailey Dancer by US Embassy Canada (CC by 2.0)

Whilst studying at Deakin University I am continuing to develop my own movement vocabulary and I plan to continue this development long after the completion of my degree and well through the entirety of my dance career. The sad reality of this creative role is that financial security is rare. Therefor it is important for me to have a strategic plan for how I am going to pursue my passion whilst also earning enough money to live.

To become a successful artist is is important to have strong connections with professionals in the creative industry. By gaining these connection I will have a better chance at getting involved with projects and performances which could very well satisfy all three of the factors which Aaron Mattocks uses to decide the value of an artistic project. Teaching is known to satisfy both all three of these factors. To further my career I intend to teach at numerous dance schools. This work will promote my choreography whilst helping me form connections with industry professionals. By teaching classes and workshops I am able to create a client base whilst expanding my movement vocabulary and gaining valuable experience. Teaching is not only a valuable and fulfilling experience is also is an important stepping stone to working on major projects and becoming a well known creator.

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Yvonne Rainer by Daniel Assayag (CC BY-SA 4.0)

What makes me and my work unique? Well, first of all my choreography stands out from other works due to its simplicity. Instead of creating commercial movement pieces which depicts some predictable and cliche story with the same split leaps and arabesques as you would see in nearly every dance performed on the show So You Think You Can Dance. My choreography aims to display the body and the relationship it may have with another body. OR the relationship it may have with space or the floor or simply the relationship it may have to itself. How does the body move if I take away its ability to see? How does it respond if I add a tonne of weight to the back of the hand? How does the body respond if I severely alter its primary senses. This is what my work aims to discover. Rather than portraying an artificial story my work will display and research the body in all its realness and authenticity.

Much like Yvonne Rainer I wish to create work that is both complex and simple. Movements that are rare and intricate yet can be performed by nearly anyone, even individuals who have no prior dance experience. In addition to this I plan on utilising my stage managing experience to create sound, set and lighting installations, much like the work that is created by Chunky Move, to accompany my movement sequences. This combination of artwork has the potential to create an intense atmosphere which stimulates the senses of both the performers and audience members.  “Choreography is a creative process that requires practice as well as some knowledge of how the process functions.” (Minton, S. 2007. pp 1) I believe that with my training and knowledge i can successfully achieve a fulfilling dance career which which furthers the both the physical and theoretical research of contemporary dance.

References:

Burke, S ‘When Should You Dance for Free?‘, DANCE MAGAZINE, vol. 87, no. 6, pp. 42-+.

Minton, Sandra Cerny. Choreography. 1st ed. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2007. Print. pp 1.

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