04 Dec Staying TRUE to Oneself and Getting Gigs in LA
Los Angeles is the capital of the entertainment industry, including dance, where the training and work opportunities are incredible, but let’s also acknowledge that dropping your life back home to pursue an artistic career is difficult and “not all that it is cracked up to be.” Below is a 10 step guide based on my own experiences to not only making the big move to LA to follow your dreams, but also about how to stay TRUE to your own
soul and movement:
- It is important to have people around you that you trust.You can come out
to LA and pursue a dance career alone, but it is a lot easier when you have the support of friends who can relate to you hearing “NO” on a consistent basis from agencies, auditions and work.
- Do not put a time limit on your stay in Los Angeles. A lot of people/dancers say, “I’ll give it a year and if I don’t make it, then it wasn’t meant to be.” By having this mind-frame you are putting unnecessary strain and too much expectation on yourself.
- Certainly have a plan but no unreasonable expectations! Always stay open to unexpected opportunities and outcomes!
- Measure your success by daily achievements! It’s easy to get distracted by others — where they are going and what their success is. This can be discouraging. Have a mind-frame where you are proud for going to that Rihanna audition, taking two classes a day, or even taking the time to get a massage — to do something good for your body and self to balance the stress of the industry. All of this leads to being a stronger dancer and a better you!
- Never forget where you came from! Your VALUES and your MORALS are what make you unique! Please stay TRUE to your own soul, dance, movement, and life. This industry asks a lot of you, and sometimes it’s ok so say, “No,” especially if the work situation makes you feel uncomfortable.
- In the moment it is hard, but be aware that when you feel like you have failed, that is the best time to learn and grow from your experience. You can always get back up and try again, and not making it the first time (second, third …) has never made you less of the wonderful human being and dancer that you are!
- Your dance career should not just be about getting credits on your resume and being “Booked and Blessed.” Working with celebrities and being on set is a privilege. When a person is only basing their career on who they are working with/for, dance becomes more about the ego then the actual love for dance. This is dangerous territory, because you forget your love and passion for actually dancing, creating and building with yourself and others.
- FREESTYLE! It is important to know how YOU like to move! Catching on quickly to choreography is absolutely necessary, but being in touch with yourself is crucial. Know your strength and weaknesses and work on them daily!
- Dance training is important. If you ever think you are too good to take classes and learn, then you are stunting your growth. Taking foundational classes are what will craft your versatility and knowledge; and choreography classes will help you become a quick and stronger dancer. Do not just be drawn to dance instructors or dance styles that are most popular. While you learn from these classes, building a foundation in many styles of dance will make you an unstoppable dancer and give you a successful dance career. Different jobs require different styles, be open to all different classes, not just a specific routine.
- Many have learned this the hard way — never think that once you reach a specific point or book that dream job that you have “made it.” If anything, when you get that dream job you will have to work ten times harder and the gig may not be what you expected. Out of all the people in the world, five percent come to LA for their dream career in dance, stay and become successful. It is not a “joke” out here and dancing is a serious, real, difficult, and rewarding career with great opportunity and abundance for dancers. You will only stay if it is truly what you love to do.
Out of all these guidelines the most important “wisdom” is to remember is that you are worth it. YOU are worth the fight, the hard work, and well deserving of being here to share who you are as an individual and a dancer. Never forget to enjoy yourself and take in the little moments. You have come far and deserve to feel happy on this journey to fulfilling your passions. Keep putting yourself out there and keep being you. No matter what anyone says, you can’t go wrong with being yourself.
These 10 steps summarize the wisdom I have learned in the last three/four years of my dance career in LA. I have had gigs with: Miley Cyrus, 5 Seconds of Summer, The MTV Music Video Awards, Dawn Richard from Danity Kane, and plan on working with many more. I hope this helps you in your future dreams, best wishes for a successful and happy dance career.
Written by Keva Walker