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.

Teachers Trending
Courtesy Lovely Leaps

After the birth of her daughter in 2018, engineer Lisa McCabe had reservations about returning to the workforce full-time. And while she wanted to stay home with the new baby, she wasn't ready to stop contributing financially to her family (after all, she'd had a successful career designing cables for government drones). So, when she got a call that September from an area preschool to lead its dance program, she saw an opportunity.

The invitation to teach wasn't completely out of the blue. McCabe had grown up dancing in Southern California and had a great reputation from serving as her church's dance teacher and team coach the previous three years (stopping only to take a break as a new mother). She agreed to teach ballet and jazz at the preschool on Fridays and from there created an age-appropriate class based on her own training in the Cecchetti and RAD methods. It was a success: In three months, class enrollment went from six to 24 students, and just one year later, McCabe's blossoming Lovely Leaps brand had contracts with eight preschools and three additional teachers.

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Courtesy Shake the Ground

Dance competitions were among the first events to be shut down when the COVID-19 pandemic exploded in the U.S. in mid-March, and they've been among the last able to restart.

So much of the traditional structure of the competition—large groups of dancers and parents from dozens of different studios; a new city every week—simply won't work in our new pandemic world.

How, then, have competitions been getting by, and what does the future look like?

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Getty Images

Despite worldwide theater closures, the Universal Ballet Competition is keeping The Nutcracker tradition alive in 2020 with an online international competition. The event culminates in a streamed, full-length video of The Virtual Nutcracker consisting of winning entries on December 19. The competition is calling on studios, as well as dancers of all ages and levels, to submit videos by November 29 to be considered.

"Nutcracker is a tradition that is ingrained in our hearts," says UBC co-founder Lissette Salgado-Lucas, a former dancer with Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. "We danced it for so long as professionals, we can't wait to pass it along to dancers through this competition."

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