Many dancers have successful careers without being active on social media. Getty Images.

I Hate Promoting Myself on Instagram. Will That Hurt My Job Chances?

It goes against my core values to promote myself on Instagram, since the quality of my dancing matters more to me than tricks. Yet some of my favorite companies hire dancers with large followings on their IG accounts. Should I bother to audition at these places? I have strong technique, but I'm not Gumby.

—Instagram Resistant, Boston, MA


Instagram accounts showing freakishly high extensions or other extreme moves have nothing to do with someone's ability to perform. At the same time, dancers with an outsized presence on social media are able to generate interest in their company, which can translate to ticket sales. Rather than just showcasing their flexibility, many performers' accounts offer an intriguing window into the life of a professional dancer, with rehearsal clips or posts from backstage.

Where does that leave you? It depends on whether you want to play the game. If so, capitalize on your strengths by posting photos and videos that showcase your technique and behind-the-scenes moments without straying from your value system. For inspiration, look for professional dancers whose popular accounts speak to you. But keep in mind that unless you become an Instagram celebrity, your online presence won't likely have much bearing on where you work. Many dancers have successful careers without being active on social media. It's ultimately how you dance that gets you hired.

Send your questions to Dr. Linda Hamilton at advicefordancers@dancemedia.com.

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In Memoriam: Joffrey Dancer Charlene Gehm MacDougal, 69

Former lead dancer with The Joffrey Ballet, Charlene Gehm MacDougal died of ovarian cancer on January 10 at her home in New York City, age 69.

Gehm illuminated the inner life of each of the varied characters in her extensive repertoire. Whether she was the gracious hostess in George Balanchine's Cotillon, the riveting Lady Capulet in John Cranko's Romeo and Juliet, or in the tumult of William Forsythe's Love Songs, she drew the viewer's eye and heart to the essence of the role.

As Forsythe puts it: "Charlene was certainly one of the most elegant dancers I have had the privilege to work with. Her striking countenance flowed into her work and, joined with her wicked sense of humor and intelligence, created thoughtful, mesmerizing and memorable art."

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February 2021