1) Experience it all. Get a couple part time jobs. File your taxes. Love/lose someone. Tend to some kind of plant life. House sit and pretend it’s your house (within reason). Spend a night in a hotel just 50 miles from where you live and see how it feels to be an ‘almost’ tourist. Visit extended family. Feel lost/happy/alone/free/disgusted/scared/joyous/in tune/vexed/hopeful on public transportation. Do some favors. Go to tons of music concerts/events. Go see theater – tons. Go to museums and galleries. P.S. Go to the openings – there is free wine.
2) Expand your skill-set. Take acting classes. Take Balinese dancing classes. Learn graphic design. Learn Quickbooks. Learn to play the guitar/piano/drums. Do something performative that terrifies you.
3) Maintain/Improve your current skill-set. Once you have graduated find a way to be dancing five times a week and let some of those times be dedicated to improvisation. Take classes and workshops with companies and choreographers that you admire. Develop relationships through interest, dedication and persistence.
4) Play the long game. If dance is going to be your life… If this is your path…Then by all means play the long game. You don’t need to be working in a full time company directly out of school. In fact you should be figuring out how to live outside of school first. No sugar-coating-it’s tough out there. That’s ok though. There is grace in challenge: you don’t need to immediately fulfill some expectation. Focus on quality not quantity. Real connection over superficial flash. Genuine artistic experience is worth the effort. Plus you will be developing a network of lovely friends along the way, which given how small the community is – really counts!
5) FAIL. Do enough difficult things that whatever part of you that typically holds you back is permanently dismantled. Welcome your frustration and begin to experience it as accumulated energy stored towards breakthrough. Don’t just fail, seek the epic fail. No small tumbles. REAL FAILS. ‘You must do the thing you think you cannot do.’ (good ol’ Eleanor Roosevelt)
6) Make Connections. Invest time in the people and creative processes that interest you. Get to know the dancers in companies you admire. Ask choreographers you like to coffee. Volunteer your time. It takes a ton of work to run a company, and you will be remembered for your generosity. For me personally, I take time getting to know the dancers and colleagues I work with on my creative projects. Theatrical, physical, and creatively combustive energy is the bedrock of my process, so it’s essential that I really know everyone on a personal level. Most of the time this starts in class.
7) And if you want to connect with me directly: Join VIM VIGOR’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/vimvigordance and the email list on our website www.vimvigordance.com. That way you can learn more about the company’s initiatives and progress while staying up to date on upcoming events, workshops, job opportunities and auditions. Or of course you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.