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Got a Competition Coming Up? Use These Tips From 3 Pros

Whether you've just started on the circuit or you're already the proud owner of several medals, dance competitions can be nerve-wracking. How can you make the most of the experience? Three former comp kids who've gone on to find major success in their careers shared their top tips.


Ryan Steele, Broadway performer:

Photo by Lee Gumbs, courtesy Ryan Steele

"I didn't realize that I wasn't just competing for a scholarship or a title, I was auditioning for future jobs. Some of my strongest professional relationships were built at conventions and competitions. Not just with the teachers, but with peers as well. Those relationships will stick with you. Make them count!"

Lia Cirio, Boston Ballet principal dancer:

Photo by Gene Schiavone, courtesy Boston Ballet

"Don't compare yourself to your fellow dancers. Focus on you and the goal you wish to accomplish."

Jaclyn Walsh, Keigwin + Company dancer:

Matthew Murphy, courtesy Jaclyn Walsh

"Onstage, there are so many other variables aside from bodies in space: the lighting, spike marks and live music. The experience I built while competing made me more prepared to tackle these as a professional."

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Here's What to Do If You Find Out Your Company Is Closing

Relegated to the last phases of COVID-19 reopening, many dance companies have hung on precariously through slashed ticket revenue, reduced government funding and slowed philanthropic giving.

"A heartbreaking reality is that some companies may not recover financially from this pandemic," says Nora Heiber, the Western executive at the American Guild of Musical Artists. Many large companies will survive by tightening their belts, but smaller groups, hardly with an abundant cash flow to begin with, may face closures, leaving their dancers afloat in a tenuous job market. We asked three experts, including a dancer who has been through a company closure, to weigh in on what to do when your job disappears.

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