Christopher Williams' "Il Giardino d'Amore." Costume by Andrew Jordan, Photo by Paula Court
Justin Lynch is surprisingly nonchalant about the struggles of being a full-time lawyer and a professional dancer. "All dancers in New York City are experts at juggling multiple endeavors," he says. "What I'm doing is no different from what any other dancer does—it's just that what I'm juggling is different."
While we agree that freelance dancers are pro multitaskers, we don't really buy Lynch's claim that what he does isn't extraordinary. In fact, we're pretty mind-boggled by the career he's built for himself.
Erin Cairns Cella (right). PC Michelle Claire Gevint
In 2013, a few days before The Bang Group left for a tour to Italy, a dancer pulled out of the company's production of Nut/Cracked. The reason? A callback for another gig. "We were left high and dry. We somehow pulled it off, but it wasn't the show I hoped it would be," says David Parker, the company's choreographer and co-director. The debacle didn't just affect that tour—it ended a professional and personal relationship of 10 years.
The Bang Group, PC Ian Douglas
Dancers are often faced with tough decisions about when to tell choreographers or directors personal news about illness, injury, pregnancy or even schedule conflicts. Many dancers fear that being honest could lead to being let go, but withholding information could burn a bridge. Strike the right balance with these tips.
Cornish College of the Arts students in Kyle Abraham's "When We Take Flight." Photo by Joseph Lambert and Jena Wijtman.
Working with guest artists is an integral part of the college dance experience. Visiting choreographers expose students to new styles and ways of working, and give them a glimpse of life as a professional. But with a relatively short amount of time to make an impression, forming a relationship with a visiting artist can feel like a daunting task. Here's what you should know about networking with guests:
Q: Is it appropriate to follow up with guests after the process has ended?
A: "Most of our guests are very open to having connections with students continue, and being communicated with via email and Facebook," says Cornish College faculty member Deborah Wolf. "They understand that's the way things work." For choreographer David Parker, "I tell them to keep me posted on what they're doing and ask me for help and advice. I'm a bridge to the professional world for them, and I take that responsibility seriously."
Donald O'Connor and Gene Kelly in Singin' in the Rain. Photo Courtesy DM Archives
At one performance of David Parker's Nut/Cracked in 2005, three-quarters of his audience walked out prematurely. But the same moment that caused the offense—a duet between two men with their thumbs in each other's mouths—earned Parker hearty laughs from the remaining crowd, and eventually an enthusiastic standing ovation.
Humor is subjective, and it can be tough to get right. Though there are many moments of brilliant comedy in dance, there are also so many failed attempts that, well, it's not even funny. There's no exact formula for grabbing a laugh. But experimenting with these ingredients can help you tap into your funny.