Freelance Choreographers & Consultants

Freelance choreographers are professionals who out -source their abilities to a host of organizations including, dance studios, amateur performing dance companies, for dance camps, judging, team and solo choreography, and a lot more.

Freelancers are the people that usually move in  multiple  dance circles, and have many acquaintances in the dance communities they work in.  They may or may not own, and/or be attached to a studio.

They can move around  without  being overly  restricted by a lot of internal  constraints.  A lot are not studio based,  yet some do  carry their own name or brand.

A good thing about freelancing  is the independence and freedom to pick your own schedule and what you will teach.  You also get to keep your creative rights in some instances.  Although some teams prefer to have full ownership of the dance, so it is not sold again.

You can contract with local studios, but don’t have to hold any set loyalty if you don’t choose too.  It’s the experience and the dance, that  matters most.

Freelancers tend to have a larger  audience and are more apt to have fresher material because of all their outside choreography work.  A lot of freelancers have also been judges, and have had a chance to view new material that your studio and/or instructors may not have.

I judged for a short while and in that process I learned a lot.  I will be honest “I really think it helped me grow as an individual and instructor”.  Those weren’t my students on the floor, they were someone else’s.   I admit it was refreshing to be able to unbiasedly  look at these young individual’s and critic and praise them in the areas they needed.  No pressure – just do what I know.  At the same time, it was nice to see what others were presenting choreography wise.

It’s that rare team that really steps up and presents something unique and entertaining.  That’s the challenge each studio, and each performer faces.

As a freelancer you  have to stay current with dance,  and practice your  skills.  It’s in doing this that you are able to help teams learn new routines and specialty movements. You should be able to teach your students to incorporate their thoughts and ideas when needed for a routine.

It’s important that each dance look different, have its own style, and visual attraction – so your audiences (or judges) will be entertained.

At the same time, your dancers need to feel the dance.  They need to understand the emotional part of the dance.

SETTING YOUR OWN SCHEDULE

Being able to freelance, allows me to set my own schedule.   I’m busy 24/7 some months – but  have leaned to curb that down in other months so I don’t burn myself out.   I like to be in many different settings learning and growing.  From  those learning settings,  I am able to  bring  back new and challenging choreography to my own students; both team and solo.

I love it when someone comes on line and says a kind word or two about something I’ve done.  I try to make sure I say something positive back.

BALLET INSTRUCTION

With ballet, I always- always-always,  evaluate my students.   I want to know what skills they have acquired  before we begin learning new choreography and/or skills.  Young bodies have limits when it comes to training.  Their feet and legs need to be ready.   Emotionally they need to be able to follow directions without bursting into tears because they have to repeat certain sets.  One of the hardest things to do is say no.

TIME IS MONEY

As a business owner you know that you don’t have time to train your teachers.  They have to come to you already qualified.  It’s your family welfare on the line, and  your businesses reputation.  But even your best  teachers get stuck in a rut; so bringing in someone who has  new and challenging choreography can really help boost your team performance, and your instructors confidence.

I’m not competing with them, I’m augmenting what they already do.

It’s at this point that you pick up the phone and call those freelance choreographers to help you put together  choreography for upcoming events, team dances, camps, solos, etc.

This  is what I do.   Since  I’m not tied to any studio, I can work with all the studios and independents – on my time.  however, I do carry my own name and brand to distinguish myself  separately from the others. That is important for me.  I’m not competing with any studio, I’m simply augment what they already do.

While I do instruct a small ballet group – I choose to remain independent, and embrace the entire dance community.

Dance on!

 

 

 

 

After high school? Teach? Own? Opt out?

If you are going to college, you may find that you really don’t have time for anything just yet. That’s okay.  – been there -done that. It’s all cool!

Not everyone wants to go back into the dance world right out of high school. The load of college is sometimes too much. You might be noticing that a lot of people you went to school with are settling down and having kids already. But not all. A lot are opting to get an established career going after college.

Some are trying their hand at teaching dance. Not as easy as you think. Family commitment, college, and job responsibilities make that living hard, if it isn’t your full time occupation. Trying to arrange to travel to competitions is also “out of pocket”. A few are even trying the studio route. Again, not as easy as you think.

Good studios aren’t running off debt, and renting space will quickly drain your wallet due to all the over head costs. If you are challenged to open your own studio, a little word of caution may be in order – take up bookkeeping first.

Another precaution, is when you decide to partner with a friend to open a studio. That can also be a sure way to end a friendship. It might be something to consider before you put your name on the dotted line.  It costs you nothing to sit down and visit with the Small Business Development  (SBD) professional and talk about setting up your own business.  You need a good business plan.

What are the responsibilities in a partnership, and who has the final say?  Deciding not to partner with a friend in a business venture can have a number of different outcomes. But even if they open a studio of their own without you – big deal. Open your own. May the best technical teacher “bookkeeper” win… It’s called Capitalism.

Then there are those who aren’t likely to ever give up dance. It will be with them until the end. These are generally your lifers. They radiate dance.  They still enjoy the art of dance, but don’t want to be saddled with the debt, management, and administrative aspects. They prefer the creative end of things. Being able to continue to train and learn is what its all about. They don’t have the desire to take over.  They are your consultants, professionals outside of the internal organization that you can draw advice and help from.

Making up your mind to continue in dance is something only you can do. Deciding who, what, when, and how, is also your choice. If you really love dance you will find a way to be involved at some level.

It really is up to all of us to train the next generation of dancers.  The real talent in young dancers is discovered between the ages of K through 5th grade. This is when they start to solidify their technique – in these early years. If they are strong and study hard past this time, then hopefully they won’t look gangly and thin in their teen years. 7th through 9th grade is a very difficult time for dancers body wise, and unfortunately social wise.

Sure it is nice to work with older dancers – but if they don’t have a strong dance foundation to back them up – you might as well be teaching the lower levels. Because that is what you will be doing. Having and owning all the videos and professional dance choreography in the world won’t help you if you don’t have solid technical dancers to work with.

In this same line of thinking, not everyone who teaches should  teach, and that is a sad fact that many learn too late. Don’t go into something that you really don’t have a desire to stay in.

It’s important to understand where everyone is coming from, and where they are going,  in a dance family. Not everyone wants the hassle of owning a studio. Not everyone wants to teach either. You have to find that balance between all the members of your dance family and use their skills to build upon each and every successful venture.

After high school – then what?

“In fashions swim with the current, in principles stand like a rock”.