Top 8 Dance Tips to Achieve Your Goals

Who doesn’t want to wow the crowd when she steps out onto the dance floor? Or maybe you just want a firm level of confidence that you’re not going to embarrass yourself out there.

Maybe you strive to become a professional. If you want to improve your dance moves, here are eight tips to get you there. They can help you bring any style of dancing up a notch. No matter what your level of experience, these tips will help you shine.

Girl Wearing Red Tutu

1. Find a Great Instructor: Experienced dancers know the importance of having a good dance instructor. A dance teacher can not only show you new steps and techniques, but he will also correct any mistakes that you’re making. Choose your instructor carefully, particularly if you’re new to dance. Ask for referrals if you know anyone who takes lessons, or if you know anyone who knows someone else who takes lessons. Check with local troupes for recommendations. If you’ve been taking lessons for a while and don’t seem to be improving, consider looking around for a different teacher. The more you dance, the more you’ll realize what qualities you prefer in a dance instructor. This can often matter as much as the teacher’s expertise. 

2. Watch Other Dancers: Rent a few dance movies or instructional DVDs. Watch the dancers closely, noting things such as body alignment, posture, and technique. Try to find ways to incorporate styles you like into your own dancing.

3. Perfect Your Posture: Stand up straight, push your shoulders down and back, and hold your head up. It’s truly amazing what good posture does for a dancer. You’ll want to look your best on the dance floor. 

4. Stretch Every Day: Daily stretching will make your body much more flexible. A big goal in dancing is to make each move look effortless. The more limber your legs are, the easier it will be to move them. Make it a habit to stretch every day.

5. Improve Your Technique: Professional dancers spend their entire careers perfecting their technique. Good technique is what separates the good dancers from the best dancers. Learn new moves, but strive to perfect the skills of each step.

6. Wear Proper Shoes: Each dance style requires a specific type of shoe. Dance shoes are carefully structured to protect the legs and feet and to benefit the dancer. Make certain that you’re dancing in the correct type of shoe and that the shoes are the right size.

7. Relax: Your body will dance its best in a relaxed state. Take a few deep breaths and clear your mind. Teach yourself to unwind to the music. Consider learning meditation and using that before you begin to move. 

8. Smile: A smile is an expression of pleasure, happiness, or amusement. If you smile when you’re dancing, people will get the feeling that you love what you’re doing. Even if you’re dancing alone, smile to yourself. You love to dance, so let it show!

The Finished Product
You don’t have to tackle all these tips at once. Consider working on one for a week or two, then when you have that down, move to the next—but keep incorporating the ones you’ve mastered. Don’t let them fall by the wayside. When you put it all together, you’ll be a star.

 

Credit: Article sourced from Liveabout.com (Treva Bedinghaus – writer and former competitve dancer)

 

Top 7 Tips for better Headshots

Selective Focus Photography of Woman's Face

The headshot. It’s the single most important marketing tool for an actor, singer, dancer or model, and it’s amazing how many people do it wrong just to cut a few corners. Artists, it’s time to take it more seriously. When that little headshot jpeg pops up on a casting director’s computer, you want them to say, “Yes, bring that person in!” Not “Yikes, that guy kinda scares me.”

Your headshot is your calling card. A nice color 8×10 of your face, from which people will hire you, and you will make lots of money for them. It will be sent out and emailed to tons of casting directors and agents, who see hundreds of these every day, on their desk and on their computer. If your headshot is bad, you look bad. You want to be seen as a pro, not an amateur, so the way you present yourself in your picture is everything. If you want people to take you seriously, you must have a good, high quality, killer headshot. Not an iPhone pic, not a Facebook photo of you outside with the wind gently blowing your hair, and not a JCPenney glamour shot with palm trees in the background that you reproduced at Kinko’s. Save those for your grandma’s mantle.

Here is what you need to keep in mind when it comes to your headshots:

1. Go pro. 
Spend the money. It’s worth it. Go to a professional, who is trained, understands lighting, and takes headshots for a living, not some friend who happens to have a decent camera who “sorta knows a little about photography.” Save those pictures for Instagram, and leave the headshots to the pros. Good headshots range from $400-$1200, and to get them professionally duplicated (not at CVS) will cost you another $100. Anything less is just a glorified passport photo. If the headshots look cheap, they probably are. And you look like you don’t care about your career.

2. Go for personality over glamour. 
Make sure it looks like you. Chill with the airbrushing. Casting directors expect you to look just like your headshot, and will not be happy when you show up looking totally different, or 10 years older. It’s not about looking pretty, it’s about representing your type, age wrinkles includedIt should look like you on your best day, showing your age, and who you are now. It’s not about the type you want to be, it’s the type you are.

 

3. It’s all about the eyes. 
Just like with on-camera acting, it’s all about the eyes, and what’s happening behind them. It’s your closeup, your moment. Your eyes should be perfectly in focus, alive, and energized, and not dead and glazed over. There should be strong inner thoughts, implying a backstory and a life behind the eyes. A slight squint and strong piercing eyes will bring a picture to life and help it stand out in a pile of hundreds. A good headshot photographer knows how to bring this out in you.

4. Pay attention to framing, lighting, and background. 
In general, a good headshot is chest-up with good lighting on your face, and no strong dramatic shadows, unless you are going in for “The Phantom of the Opera.” Three-quarter shots are good for print, and extreme close-ups are good for, well, nothing. Look directly into the camera, and the focus should be on the center of your eyes, not your left ear, or your shirt collar. No peace signs, weird facial hair, or the famous “hand on face” pose. Be sure the background is blurred, which means it’s shot with a good, high-quality camera with a high depth of field, which makes you stand out. We don’t need to see that you are standing on the beach in Santa Monica, or on a tour boat in front of the Statue of Liberty. It’s about you, not the environment.

5. Natural light vs. studio.
Some photographers do both, as they offer a different look and feel. Natural light gives a very real, “film” look, which I prefer. Studio lighting tends to be a little more polished, with a more neutral backdrop. Both can be wonderful. If you are more of a sitcom actor, perhaps a good well-lit studio headshot is more suited for you. If you want to look like you are on “True Detective,” then go for the outdoor look.

6. Clothing and props. 
I once saw a headshot of a guy with a bird on his head. Why? Because he wanted to stand out. Let’s not get crazy here. Keep it simple and classy, and follow the standard format. Professionalism gets you noticed, not desperation. Leave the Ed Hardy and the “statement” shirts at home. A simple, solid color shirt with a little texture that fits you well and matches your eyes should do the trick. No whites and no graphics or anything you think might distract from your face. And no props. (You know that, right?) If you think you are going to play cop roles, you don’t need to wear the outfit in the headshot. It’s a bit much and very limiting.

7. Don’t go crazy with the makeup. 
Yes, lots can be done with retouching. There is no need to put on tons of makeup. You want to look like yourself on your best day, and not look like you tried too hard. Girls, be yourself, do your hair the way you would for every audition. Guys, bring some oil sheets to take down the shine, and maybe use a lightly tinted moisturizer to take out the redness and even your skin tone. Some people spend way too much on makeup, only to have to get their headshots redone afterward because they look fake in all the photos.

Find a photographer that gets you. You have to vibe with the photographer, and that person has to make you feel very comfortable, as you will hopefully be using this headshot for a couple of years and sending it to everyone in town. Research photographers online, go to Reproductions and look through their portfolio books, look through the list of photographers in Backstage, ask for a consultation, get a feel for how they photograph your type, your ethnicity, your gender, etc.

And most importantly, don’t cut corners.

Credit: Article Sourced from Backstage Magazine (Matt Newton)

Dancers Audition Do’s and Dont’s

Woman Wearing Black Bra and Mesh Silt Skirt Dancing on Stage

Auditions. They’re like swallowing your vitamins. All they take is a little practice and some mental reassurance, and then you can come out stronger and, in this case, maybe with a job. Dance Informa spoke with leading working dancers and choreographers across the US to get their tips and audition do’s and don’ts.

 

Audition Prep for the Mind and Body
It’s important to get enough sleep prior to an audition in order to stock up on ample energy and concentration levels. If nerves or other factors prevent you from getting the zzz’s, then help yourself with an energy drink, suggests choreographer Annabelle Lopez Ochoa. You need to be “on top of your game because you have to show in no time what you’ve got,” she says.

Nothing is worse than feeling unprepared. “If you can, research the project or company choreography,” says Clymene Baugher, a company member of Elisa Monte Dance in New York City. “Wake up early and give yourself time to orientate yourself to the day, not only preparing your body physically but also giving yourself time to mentally prepare.”

Mentally, it’s crucial that as an auditioning dancer you exude confidence. “Believe you are worth watching and that you have something to offer the company,” Lopez Ochoa says.

“Think of auditions as dress rehearsals, the more relaxed you are the better,” Baugher adds.

Show it Off!
Wear dance wear in which you feel good, something clean and neat and in a bright color. Unless it fits with the style, Lopez Ochoa says to avoid baggy clothes, “too sexy” looks and leg warmers. “A dancer should reveal his/her body because if you hide it in baggy clothes, the choreographer tends to be suspicious,” she says. “It’s all about honesty.”

Courtesy Goes a Long Way
During an audition, you’re being tested on more than just dance skills. How do you behave toward the director or choreographer and your fellow auditionees? “Being courteous to other dancers and the casting people is incredibly important,” says Drumlin Brooke, currently a trainee with First State Ballet Theatre in Delaware. “A lot of directors are looking for people who will mesh well with their company.”

How you behave in an audition also gives directors an idea of how you would work in the studio. “Listen very well to what a director or choreographer is asking you to do,” Lopez Ochoa advises. “Usually he/she does not expect you to be perfect, but he/she is just testing if you listen well and react to what he/she is saying.

“Don’t constantly look at the director to check if he/she’s watching you,” she adds. “That can be utterly annoying.”

Stay in your Comfort Zone?
There’s debate about whether or not to audition for something out of a dancer’s skill level or comfort zone. Lopez Ochoa says to avoid such auditions. “You’d be wasting the time of the choreographer,” she says. “It’s already hard enough for a choreographer to perceive all the qualities of the dancers in such a short time and in such big crowds.”

On the other hand, Christine Cox, co-founder of Philadelphia’s Ballet X, says go for it. “I think it’s important to know how to audition, and the more experience you can gain from it the better,” she says. “Who knows, you may get the job. If it starts to make you feel depressed and insecure, then stick to what you know and keep your confidence building.”

Likewise, Brooke says, “If you go you might get the job. If you don’t audition you definitely won’t.”

The Must-Haves 
Depending on the style of the company or specifics of the gig, choreographers and directors look for different qualities in dancers. Lopez Ochoa looks for generosity, a strong technique, versatility and, most of all, musicality when she’s auditioning a dancer.

For Cox, attributes like musicality, good work ethic and amazing technique make dancers stand out. “You can’t fake being a good dancer,” she says. “You either are or you aren’t.”

Bracing Rejection
“There’s no band-aid for rejection,” Lopez Ochoa says. “It’s always hard and disappointing when you’re not chosen.”

The key, then, is to trust that there’s a place out there that would be happy to have you as a dancer. “If a director does not hire you, it doesn’t mean that you’re a bad dancer,” says Lopez Ochoa. “It usually means that you don’t fit the style of the company.”

Most importantly, when faced with rejection, don’t give up. “Being a dancer is one of the hardest professions, and rejection hurts,” Baugher says. “If you want it bad enough, then you have to push on and continue to attend auditions and put yourself out there.”

#1 Do’s and Don’ts
According to these working dancers and choreographers, here are their number one do’s and don’ts:

Lopez Ochoa’s #1 DO: “Show that you love dancing. You’re not at an audition to get a job, you’re there to show how much you love your art. It’s a slightly different state of mind that makes a huge difference in how and what you radiate.”

Lopez Ochoa’s #1 DON’T: “Don’t stand in front if you don’t know the combination.”

Brooke’s #1 DO: “Pay attention! Nobody wants confused dancers who aren’t listening.”

Brooke’s #1 DON’T: “Don’t be late. Being early is both respectful and smart, and you want to be able to take your time to prepare.”

Cox’s #1 DO: “Show who you are as an artist in the audition. Be expressive and daring.”

Cox’s #1 DON’T: “Don’t show attitude.”

Baugher’s #1 DO: “Enjoy! Being a dancer is not easy. Think of auditions as miniature journeys.”

Baugher’s #1 DON’T: “Do not beat yourself up. Not getting the job often means absolutely nothing about you as a dancer, but most especially does not reflect your worth as a person.”

Try to enjoy the audition experience and the journey, and work hard. Your persistence could someday soon pay off.

Credit:  Article Sourced from Dance Informa Magazine (Laura Di Orio)

Social Media DONT’S

Image Source: The CW

When you think about embarrassing social media behavior, you probably think about octogenarians who accidentally post their phone numbers in a Facebook status. But embarrassing social media perils are everywhere for users of all ages, particularly for actors.

 

But it’s 2019 and social media is as important to your acting brand as your signature monologue or audition song, so we want to help you avoid these digital landmines and lead with your best online foot forward.

Contacting industry professionals you don’t know.

“If you met them at a pay-to-meet or networking event, it’s a perfect time to follow up. In NYC recently we queried over 50 top industry professionals at our Actor Marathon, and only one percent wanted to be reached via Facebook, none via Twitter. On the west coast about 20 percent said it was OK and actually had a separate professional Facebook account for actors to reach them. Still, you need to ask first.” —Gwyn Gilliss, manager, casting director, and Backstage Expert

Not actually learning how to do it.
“Many actors dislike social media because they don’t understand how it works. They sign up for a new platform, spend 15 minutes on it, then get angry at themselves for not being more socially savvy. Sound familiar? You can learn to use social media to create the career you want. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how good you are with technology—learning a new social media platform is like learning how to ride a bike. It takes time, practice, and determination. Trust your training wheels before you tackle the big hill. Start slow and learn the basics of each platform before you try posting 20 times a week.” —Heidi Dean, social media expert and Backstage Expert

This. 
“Never send out a tweet with specific details of an audition or job. That will get you fired.” —Marci Liroff, producer, casting director, and Backstage Expert

Total social media insincerity.
“Above all, you have to be yourself. Before you post anything, ask yourself, ‘Would I say this in real life? Would I talk about this in real life?’ If you wouldn’t, don’t post it; people see right through the fake and the phony. Your audience is following you not only for the information you’re putting out there but how you’re putting it out there and that’s where your personality comes in. Anyone can find the facts, but there is only one you.” —Arda Ocal, NYC-based broadcaster and Backstage Expert

Your green monster is showing. 
“Seeing your social media ‘friends’ post photos from the audition waiting room or on set along with #SoBlesed and #ActorsLife can make you feel like you’re not enough. There you are looking at Facebook in socks and underwear eating cereal for dinner in your tiny apartment comparing yourself to a well-filtered image of your Facebook friend next to the steady-cam operator. Then that negative voice inside your head starts to pipe up. It compares you to the actors you see on social media. All of a sudden you’re paralyzed with feelings of inadequacy that prevent forward motion as an actor. Worthlessness sets in and you start to believe that you won’t succeed.

“But most often it’s comparing the worst parts of your life with the best parts of other people’s. And when the comparison is with a social media picture or narrative, you’re comparing yourself to a skillfully manipulated image designed to present an image of success. In subtle and not-so-subtle ways, most of us use social media to present a facade to manipulate the viewer into believing something about us that we are trying to be. The comparison is flawed.” —Risa Bramon Garcia and Steve Braun, Backstage Experts

Trying too hard to be social media “famous.”
“Social media is a very powerful tool, and being a social media figure isn’t easy. It takes a lot of time and planning, and I can tell if someone is really ‘working it’ or just phoning it in. I’m looking for an organically authentic person—and perhaps someone who isn’t just concerned about getting photos of themselves out there, but who has taken on a political and social stance that can, dare I say, make the world a better place. Look at Yara Shahidi of ‘Black-ish.’ She used her platform to start Eighteen x 18, an initiative to encourage young people to vote for the first time.” Marci Liroff

Falling off the digital map. 
“Fans love keeping up with actors and social media makes it easier than ever, even if it doesn’t always feel that way. With new platforms launching practically every day, it seems nearly impossible to keep up. Don’t panic! Instead, concentrate your efforts on fewer platforms so it’s easier for you to stay active without burning out. What you don’t want to do is go M.I.A. as it’s the fastest way to lose fans.” Tammy Lynn, publicist and Backstage Expert

Credit: Article Sourced from Backstage Magazine

5 Traits that Makes a Great Dancer

Man Break Dancing

Image Source: Pexels

Some people are just innately born with traits and abilities that allow them to do magnificent things. Whether you’re a dancer, visual artist, musician, or in a completely different type of industry, different characteristics and skills provide certain people with the ability to accelerate in their particular field, almost effortlessly because of certain intrinsic features. If you’re wondering whether you possess the traits that make a great dancer, here are some of the highlighted ones to recognize.

1. Motivation & Determination

What motivates you? Is it the idea of becoming the dancer you’ve dreamed of since you were little? Or is it your desire to simply do something that you love? Finding your motivation allows you to tap into your determination for pursuing the success and life that you want as a dancer. Any dancer can become a great dancer once they become crystal clear on their motivation and determination.

2. Discipline

Practice makes perfect and there’s really no way around it. If you want to hone in on your craft, the trait of discipline needs to be by your side at all times.Opting out of other temptations in order to dedicate the time that’s necessary to practicing dance is always a challenge, but it just comes down to setting your priorities straight so you can find the motivation and discipline you need each time to overcome those hurdles.

3. Ability to Focus

Another essential trait that makes a great dancer is the ability to really focus. Dancing is a crafted skill that comes through much dedication, discipline, motivation, determination, and above all – focus. Like with anything, dancers will experience good days and bad days. There will be days when you feel as though you’ve reached beyond your limits under a mountain of exhaustion, frustration, and pressure. On those inevitable days, being able to re-center your thoughts back into focus is what often sets apart a dancer from a great dancer.

4. Spatial Awareness

With the world as your stage, dancers must have the ability to be spatially aware of both their body and their surroundings. Being spatially aware means that you can flutter about the stage knowing precisely how to use your space, how to avoid bumping into other dancers, or how to simply not be in the way. With this trait, you have a natural ability to move upstage, downstage, right or left and be aware of your body movements amidst the space around you.

5. Enthusiasm 

When you think of dance, does it excite you? Do you enjoy practicing it, learning it and watching great dancers perform on your free time? Dancing will always require hard work, but if you aren’t feeling enthusiasm towards it then hard work may only take you so far. Without the passion and excitement behind your dancing, you may never reach that certain level of greatness because dancing needs that emotion behind it. If you love to dance and you possess some of these key traits, rest assured that you just might have what it takes to become a great dancer.

Credit: Article made by Dancing Experts – Greta Leeming Studio of Dance

Knowledge is powerful if you Apply it! Until Next Time!

 

The Gold Talent International Global Network Team