The Finance Your Dance 10 Commandments
Thou Shalt Not Wait For My “Big Break”
Every young dancer has a dream of one day getting into their favorite dance company, Broadway show, or working with the recording artist or choreographer that they admire the most. I’m sure you had a dream of your own as a young dancer, or aspiring professional, that kept you motivated to push yourself and work hard.
The Truth About Your Big Break
When I was a kid, I used to watch cartoons, like most kids. But there was a particular theme that was used quite often in one of the cartoons that I loved to watch, which involved something called, a mirage. In the scene, one of the cartoon characters would be salivating at the mouth, so hungry that they would imagine that one of the other cartoon characters was a juicy piece of meat to eat, only to find that it was just an illusion. Or, one of the cartoon characters would be so thirsty, that they would imagine that there was a spring of flowing water to drink from, in the middle of the desert, and they’d run to it to drink, only to find that it was just an illusion.
Whatever you imagine your “Big Break” might be, is just an illusion. Now that doesn’t mean that you’ll never reach your goal of working with a particular choreographer, dance company, dance studio, recording artist, or Broadway show, it simply means that, no one job or gig, is the end all be all of your entire career, or life’s work.
It takes years of hard work, perseverance, dedication, tenacity, and preparation to become successful. It takes all of that, and even more, to maintain your success at a high level. Additionally, throughout your life and career, as you evolve, and get older, your life’s goals and priorities will change. So the idea that, one gig or one job will catapult you to success, and keep you there for the rest of your life, just simply is not true. However, if you start your own company, and create your own “Big Break”, it becomes more likely that you will be able to build long-term success through it, because you own it.
When you believe that someone else holds your “Big Break” in their hands, you are setting yourself up for failure and disappointment. That mentality gives you no power. There are a lot of politics involved in getting professional dance jobs, and also getting access to certain types of high-profile, and high-paying dance opportunities. It’s not just about talent or skill; it’s also about who you know. That’s why it’s so important for you to create your own “Big Break”. Don’t sit around waiting for that magical day or moment when opportunity comes knocking at your door, or when you get hired for your dream gig. Get busy today becoming the best person, and the best dancer/choreographer that you know you can be, and if/when it does come, you’ll be ready. In the meantime, make sure that you are always gaining more knowledge, experience, and skills so that you can stay competitive, and reach the goals that you have for your dance career, company, or business. That is how you will be able to make your dreams a reality, create your own opportunities, and see and seize the opportunities around you.
Remember, even if you do get that dance job or gig of your dreams, you, alone, are still a brand. So you need to make sure that you are developing your own personal brand or business even while you are working at your dream dance job. The thing about jobs and gigs is that, they eventually end. This is especially true for dance performance jobs, like Broadway shows, tours, dance company gigs, etc.
Here are some suggestions to get you started creating your own “Big Break”:
- Get Clear About What Your Life’s Purpose Really Is. Ask yourself questions like, “What would I spend my time doing if money wasn’t an issue? If I had $10 million dollars, how would I spend it? What disturbs me, or upsets me enough that it drives me to take action? What social, economic, religious, or environmental issues am I really passionate about? What natural talents, skills, and gifts do I have that can greatly benefit others?” Starts asking yourself these types of questions as you pursue your dreams and goals, or while you’re working at your dream job. What you’ll discover is that, there’s a higher purpose for your life’s work, and getting to know yourself on a deeper level will help you to discover what it might be. American Ballet Theatre Soloist, Misty Copeland, is a perfect example of this. She got her “Big Break” at a very young age, a job dancing with the ballet company of her dreams. That was her goal. But she didn’t stop there. She recognized that she is a brand, and that she had even more to offer the world around her, besides her beautiful and captivating dancing. Now that’s what I’m talking about!
- Figure Out What Your Unique Contribution Can Be To The World. Sometimes in the pursuit of your dreams and goals, you can be so focused on one particular thing that you completely ignore or miss other aspects of your gifts, talents, and skills that are valuable to the world around you. I truly believe that this is one of the reasons why God allows us to experience rejection or face certain life challenges. Challenges and obstacles force us to look at things from a different perspective, and help us to discover things about ourselves that we may have never recognized otherwise.
- Don’t Tie Your Whole Identity Or Entire Value To One Particular Choreographer, Dance Job, Or Dance Company. This is another downside to getting stuck in the “Big Break” mentality. If you put all of your eggs in one basket, and don’t get the gig of your dreams, then what? Does that mean that you’re a failure? Does that particular gig or job determine your value as a dancer? Absolutely not. You are valuable no matter where you are, or who you are working for. Your value as a dance artist and as a person, are with you wherever you go, and no one else owns your value but you. So no matter how prestigious the choreographer, dance company, or dance school is that you’re working for, remember that the value that you embody is yours, and no outward source or individual can control that, or take it away. Establish your own identity, and your own brand, and build upon your strengths, talents, skills, and God-given gifts, and you will be unstoppable, no matter where you go.
This post is an excerpt from our FREE e-book, “The Dancer’s Bible :The 10 Finance Your Dance Commandments Every Dancer Should Follow“. Read more, and get your free copy HERE!
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