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By Wendy Perron
Let’s be real. Dance jobs are hard to find and they don’t pay fabulously well. But we don’t do it for the money. We do it for love.
That said, we need to be practical too, and that’s where Dance Magazine’s annual Jobs Issue comes in. Our stories this month look at real solutions for dancers who don’t happen to work for a company that’s plush enough to pay decent salaries. Plenty of freelance dancers have to scrounge for their next gig. In “Double-Duty Dance Lives,” Nancy Wozny interviews four whose somatic practice certifications have given them a livelihood with a flexible schedule. If you’re wondering whether this is the right route for you, check out our chart outlining the cost, time commitment, and focus of some of these programs.
We tend to think of New York City as the place with the most dance activity, but there are options in many other cities too. You might have to say “Goodbye, New York,” and hello to a smaller dance scene with more opportunities that are within reach. As Courtney D. Jones, a 2012 “25 to Watch,” told Lauren Kay in our feature on leaving the Big Apple, “Diversifying and seeing other cities makes you a better artist, wherever you work.”
As you know from our January issue, Chicago is one of those other dance-packed cities. And one of the most active, genre-crossing companies is Giordano Dance Chicago. No, it’s not the biggest or busiest company in that city, but it’s survived 50 years by being resourceful and inspired. Anyone who’s attended the biennial Jazz Dance World Congress knows that GDC’s sheer energy and good will make them a beloved troupe throughout the Midwest. Read Lynn Colburn Shapiro’s cover story, “Jazz Dance Opens Up,” plus the sidebar on GDC’s outreach opportunities.
Another resourceful company is Salt Lake City’s tiny Repertory Dance Theatre. In “Technique My Way,” RDT’s Toni Lugo reveals that, in addition to her dense schedule of classes, rehearsals, and performances, she has an extra job within the company. (If you’re a member of a seven-person company, you can’t be a diva!) So when you read about Lugo’s commitment to learning roles, know that she also holds down her end of the fort in terms of costume care.
These are all ways that dancers can support doing what they love even in shaky economic times.
From top: Photo of Wendy Perron by Matthew Karas; Photo of Giordano Dance Chicago by Gorman Cook, Courtesy GDC.