Recommended: The Business of Dance

By Tim Stevenson aka Mo’at, Courtney Miller Jr. and Harvey Russell

156 pages, $12.99 

Commercial dance choreographers Courtney Miller Jr. and Tim Stevenson, along with manager Harvey Russell, have amassed decades of experience working with pop stars like Michael Jackson, Usher, Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez—and now they’ve written a how-to guide for commercial dancer hopefuls looking to make it on the Hollywood dance scene. The Business of Dance truly emphasizes the nitty-gritty business aspects of making it. Chapters are devoted to finding an agent, marketing yourself, working between paid dance gigs, understanding unions and navigating the tricky politics of the biz. There’s no sugarcoating—Miller, Stevenson and Russell are up-front about the importance of who you know and dressing the part when it comes to booking jobs.

The Business of Dance is a great resource when it comes to cold, hard facts, too. The authors include typical daily rates for music videos, industrials, tours and commercial and television work, with real contract examples. There’s even a list of the top Los Angeles dance agencies, with contact information included. But the real gems of this book are the more nuanced tidbits, like how to gracefully ask choreographers about future gigs—with actual conversation starter suggestions. Miller, Stevenson and Russell have written an honest, informative guide to the commercial dance scene for young dancers.

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