Starting Your Career as a Dancer
By Mande Dagenais
Allworth Press, 2012
When your 17-year-old star student tells you that she’s leaving for Los Angeles to start her career, make sure this guide gets packed in her suitcase. Though written for all dancers, the book will be particularly useful for those embarking on a commercial path.
Author Mande Dagenais is an industry insider. She was director/choreographer for the Los Angeles revue La Cage Aux Folles, worked on productions at Caesar’s Palace and The Fontainebleau Hilton and produced events for Disney and Ford. Her work can also be seen on Celebrity Cruises and Costa Cruises. So when she advises dancers on audition attire, makeup and attitude, you know she’s speaking from experience.
Chapters on business management are the most useful, including topics such as representation, copyright laws, finances and contract review. These sections give young dancers a basic understanding of the dry but necessary information that might otherwise go in one ear and out the other. Dagenais’ chapter on nutrition is relevant for students living on their own for the first time, though the choosing college versus career section fails to address the true scope of college dance, falling back on the decades-old idea that having a career and going to college don’t mix.
When Dagenais sticks to what she knows best, Starting Your Career as a Dancer provides sound advice. It doesn’t dig too deep, but there’s enough to get young professionals to think about dance as a career, not just a hobby.
As the director of dance at Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Belmont, Massachusetts, Istvan Cserven organizes the biannual student showcases, prepares dancers for competition and trains new instructors. On top of all that, he teaches the upper-level technique classes. A former ballroom champion in Hungary, he is well-acquainted with both rhythm and smooth ballroom-dance styles.
In an event inspired by the words of President John F. Kennedy, The Washington Ballet will perform the world premier of WHO WHEN WHY this Saturday, June 24, at the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Kogod Courtyard.
After having spent a lifetime looking at ourselves in the mirror, constantly appraising, who of us wouldn't want to take a dance class in the dark? Two Australian dance students, Alice Glenn and Heidi Barrett, had the same thought in 2009 when they founded No Lights No Lycra, a global dance community that offers dancers and nondancers alike the chance to get their groove on in a dark space, where there's no light, no Lycra, no technique, no teacher and no steps to learn. It's just a place to lose yourself in the music and find your own dance mojo. The event became so popular that it spread past its Melbourne beginnings, first throughout Australia and now, globally.
Four incredible educators: Joanne Chapman, Claudio Muñoz, Pamela VanGilder and Kathleen Isaac foster their students' love of dance, whether instilling artistry, offering rigorous training or giving special needs students an outlet through movement.
When Jennie Somogyi retired from New York City Ballet, she found herself in high demand as a teacher. Parents called, texted and persisted. "I don't even know how some of them got my contact information," she says with a laugh. But Somogyi, who departed from NYCB in 2015 after a 22-year career, hadn't made any definitive plans for the next stage of her life. "I just like to see how things move me," she says. She discovered, though, that she enjoyed the process of giving private lessons and seeing the rapid progress students could make. Over time, she realized that teaching was something she wanted rather than needed.