“IT ALL STARTS WITH CONFIDENCE” by Christie Manning

Impact Dance Productions is pleased to feature Christie Manning the Creator and Editor-in-Chief of Industry Dance Magazine!

Please Enjoy!

“IT ALL STARTS WITH CONFIDENCE” by Christie Manning

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With 175 + dance studios just in the lower mainland, there are hundreds of thousands of dancers, just in BC alone, leaving their home studio every night with the wish of becoming a professional dancer one day. With the competition being so stiff, how do you set yourself apart? It all comes down to one thing: Confidence.

Before you nod your head and say, ‘Yeah yeah, I’ve heard that before,’ really listen to what I have to say. I want you to think about some of the best dancers you know. What makes them so good? What really sets them apart? Is it the fact that they can do nine pirouettes into a front aerial and land in the splits? Not necessarily. I know some incredible breakers that can’t do nine pirouettes, unless it’s on their head. It’s not the tricks. It’s not their cool hair style, or tattoo down their arm, or even their Free City sweatpants. It’s their confidence.

Every strong dancer knows they aren’t the best, but they know they’re not the worst either. Many dancers suffer from a strong sense of ego, and not in an arrogant way. Most suffer from it more in a self deprecating kind of way. Thinking “I’m not good enough” is coming from a place of ego just as much as “I’m the best” is, it’s just on the opposite side of the scale. There is nothing wrong with acknowledging that you’re talented. Read that again. There is NOTHING wrong with acknowledging that you’re talented. It’s how you present and conduct yourself with that knowledge that matters.

1. Don’t put others up on a pedestal.

Putting your teacher, your choreographer, TV stars, or even your fellow dancers up on a pedestal just keeps you at a place of ‘less than’. You are not worth less than them, are not less than them, just because you think they are stronger, better, more experienced than you. Their training or experiences do not lessen YOUR value. They may be further along their career path than you are, but everyone was where you are at one point along the way.

2. Everyone’s path is different.

One of the most frustrating things in a dancer’s career is that there is no one way to get to where you want to go. There is no diploma or master’s degree you can take that’s a surefire path to success. Every single artist will take different steps towards the career they would like to have. Therefor, it’s also one of the most beautiful things about our career. We have the option, the power, the opportunity, to shape our own career and lifestyle. There are hundreds of thousands of paths we could choose to take. By being confident and understanding who you are as an artist, you can make the appropriate steps towards the future you would like. It will be different from the dancer standing beside you. And it should be.

3. Don’t compare.

One of the most damaging things an artist can do is compare him or herself to others. This will never create anything positive. It is extremely unhealthy and a complete waste of time. You can idolize someone as long as you’d like, you will never be them, no matter how hard you try. And thank god. You will never be as good as the are, because you aren’t them. You are YOU. Why be the second best version of someone else when you could be the best version of yourself?

4. Figure out who you are.

Understanding who you are and where you fit in can be one of the most difficult processes a dancer will face. But what comes with the discovery can be career changing. It is a dancer’s responsibility to figure out what they are passionate about, and where they fit in with in the industry. What makes your heart the happiest? Working with a contemporary company, being on set, touring with an artist? Then ask yourself the hard questions. Do I have the body type and the skills to do what I want to do? If not, where would my body type and skills be most valued? Your goal is to match the two together.

5. Don’t let what you can’t do, discount what you CAN do.

You have skills you have been working hard on your whole career. Just because someone else has skills you don’t have, doesn’t devalue what you DO have. Be confident in the skills that you have. Know what you’re good at, and own it with all your being. Continue to train, work hard, and always be open to learning and growing, but be proud of your accomplishments. The strongest artists out there know what they are capable of, understand their value, and represent themselves as such.

At the end of the day, you just need to remember one thing: Be the best version of yourself. In an industry ( especially in Canada) where there are more artists than there is work, you must remember to keep the focus on yourself. Don’t be distracted by who is doing what, when, where, and how. All you need to focus on is what YOU can do, where YOU want to go, and how YOU are going to get there. Friends and colleagues will come and go, but the relationship you have with yourself is the most important. And that relationship should come with a side of confidence.

Christie Manning- Editor and Chief of Industry Dance Magazine

Blog made possible by Danielle Gardner Founder&CEO of Impact Dance Productions

FOLLOW US ON TWITTER @IMPACTDancePro

http://www.daniellelgardner.com

TOP 10 LIST of THINGS TO DO TO BECOME A SUCCESSFUL PROFESSIONAL DANCER

Menina Fortunato, is a seasoned professional with many years of experience as a professional dancer in all areas of entertainment. She began her professional career in Vancouver and has been based in Los Angeles for over a decade.  Image

She has had the pleasure of working with the world’s biggest stars including Britney Spears, Beyonce, Earth Wind & Fire, Carmen Electra, Rain (Bi), Luis Miguel, Jennifer Garner, Carrie Underwood, Paula Abdul to name a few. She has toured the world & seen my millions on TV & film. Select credits include America’s Got Talent, Star Trek: Enterprise, Alias, MAD TV, Guy’s Choice Awards to name a few. Most recently she transitioned behind the camera in casting & production on several productions including The X Factor & America’s Got Talent. Go to www.meninafortunato.com to learn more about her career. 

 
 
After a long performing career, it is her time to give back to the next generation of dancers. She created THE HOLLYWOOD SUMMER TOUR, a dance career intensive for aspiring professional dancers with the intention to education, prepare & inspire dancers to realize their dreams. Go to www.thehollywoodsummertour.com to learn more.
 
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Here is her TOP 10 LIST of THINGS TO DO TO BECOME A SUCCESSFUL PROFESSIONAL DANCER

 
1 – Diversify Your Training
In this ever changing dance industry, a dancer must keep up with the current trends in order to stay competitive. There  was a time when dancers specialized in only one form of dance and that was sufficient. In the last decade, thanks to TV shows like So You Think You Can Dance, a dancer has more opportunities if they are well versed in multiples styles of dance. Both choreographers & agents love to work with versatile dancers. 
 
2 – Get an Agent
If a dancer wishes to work in all areas of media, including commercials, TV, film, live shows etc, getting a dance agent is essential. Dance Agencies have access to castings that are typically unavailable to the public. A dance agent will negotiate contracts with the intention to protect the dancer’s rights and ensure appropriate wages. Dance agents are typically paid 10-15% commission on the contracts they negotiate for their clients. 
 
3 – Get Professional Photos
Professional photos are the business card for all talent, especially dancers. They are used for agency submissions, casting submissions as well as auditions. The industry standard is an 8×10 photo with the name on the bottom. Some dancers might use a collage of 2 or more images on the same 8×10 print in order to showcase multiple looks. A poor headshot could cost a dancer an audition or a job, so it is critical to choose a photographer that can produce high quality images with proper lighting that captures the “best you”.
 
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4 – Prepare a well formatted Dance Resume
A dance resume is not formatted like a “traditional job” resume. It should be well formatted with the dancer’s name, contact information, stats including height, weight, eye color, as well as credits separated in sub categories (ie. film, tv, stage, theatre, videos, industrials etc), training and special skills. 
 
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5 – Create a Professionally Designed Website
Since we are in the digital age, a professional website is very valuable and useful. Like any business, it has everything one needs to know about a dancer’s career – photos, resume, bio, videos, press, contact etc. It allows a dancer to showcase all their work in one place that is easily accessible and viewable by anyone in the world. It can also be integrated with a dancer’s multiple social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram etc) and casting profiles (IMDB, Casting Networks, The Casting Workbook etc).
 
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6 – Create a Dance Demo Reel
A dance demo reel is a short 1-3 minute montage of video clips showcasing a dancer’s body of work. It should be professional edited with captivating music, titles etc. It should entice and intrigue the viewer. It is a useful marketing tool that can be used for submissions for potential work.
 
 
7 – Broadcast your professional work on Video Sharing Networks 
Once you have video content worth sharing (ie. professional work, class footage), it is a smart idea to post it on video sharing sites (ie. YouTube, Vimeo etc). It’s also valuable to “tag” the video with key words, so viewers can easily find it. Video sharing allows for anyone around the world to see your work, which could result in booking work worldwide.
 
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8 – Be proactive & seek work opportunities
Even if a dancer has an agent, they should not rely on their agent to find all their work. A dancer should be pro-active and submitting themselves for work, whether it’s blind submissions to potential companies they wish to work for or daily submissions through casting websites.  
 
9 – Attend Dance Related Events
Attending dance related events is a great way to see other dancer’s work, be inspired, and also network with other dance professionals who also might be attending the event. There is a saying in the entertainment world – “out of sight, out of mind”. If potential employers don’t see you, they might forget about you. 
 
10 – Make Friends
Building relationships is very important. “Who you know” and “who knows you” can lead to potential work opportunities. Friends like to hire their friends. It’s not uncommon for a casting director or choreographer to hire someone they know. You can’t afford to burn bridges. Your reputation can & will follow you. A good dancer with a wonderful work ethic and positive attitude is more likely to work than an extraordinary dancer who is unreliable and has a bad attitude. Your like-ability can be just as important as your talent. The dance world is small and building a positive reputation is important for a long lasting career. 

Bringing The Tropics Home By Robyn Gerry

With Vancouver Fashion Week approaching we thought we would contribute a little fashion into this weeks post in celebration of the opening of VFW taking place tomorrow night at the Four Season. Opening choreographed by Founder & CEO of Impact Dance Productions…Danielle Gardner (AKA me :))

Please sit back and enjoy some fashion goodies by Robyn Bank our Fashion Blogger Diva

-Bringing The Tropics Home-

I among the majority of you Vancouverites probably think that the rain is terribly romantic, (unless your heartbroken and love lost… in which case its probably for the most part depressing – sorry). As luck would have it, were all in for a seasonal treat. With the arrival of daylight savings, comes future sun saturation and vitamin D ie: summersssss a comin! and with it, fashions strong craving to embrace the sun, melatonin soaked skin, and tropical prints. With the arrival of spring It’s no surprise that florals seep their way into the minds and seams of the international fashion houses.
The palm leaves that were sewn on the runways of A LAB Milano and Alexander Wang, are raging in full bloom this spring. This pantsuit from Stella McCartney (throwing it back to her days of designing for Chloe), she’s taken the tropics to a mirror and then thrown it on a menswear inspired pantsuit. These prints aren’t just on runways but are infiltrating street-wear as well as a great resurgence in sub cultures. Tropical flowers can be seen on everything from Vans shoes to Huf Hats.
Although here in Vancouver we have but two months of summer (if we’re lucky), this year we can celebrate summer like the rest of the world from May to September through textile expressionism that goes beyond pastel colours. The great thing about this tropical trend is that it’s VERY wearable. Pair your favorite Hawaiian button up with cut offs and chuck taylors and your set. If your anything like me, constantly juggling work, yoga/spin classes, nights out with your ladies and hikes up the chief I for one am glad that I can bring the tropics with me even if its overcast.

Robyn Gerry

This Blog Post was made possible by IMPACT Dance Productions

David Cooper-Photographer

In 1978, with an interest in photographing dance, I was fortunate to receive a Canada Council grant to travel to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. I spent two weeks in their studios photographing the morning class and rehearsals. At night I set up a small darkroom in a friends bathroom and made contact sheets from the days work. I would post them on the board and get the dancers feedback. I learned the language of ballet there. Jeté, arabesque, plie, demi, turnout, were all terms new to me. Even though I have never taken a dance class, I can now give notes to a ballet dancer when I see something that is wrong during a studio shoot. You will hear me say “let me see that back arm”, “flatten the line to make the legs longer”,  “drop your shoulders”, “can you match that arm to your leg.” It’s a constant barrage of notes to get the lines perfect. A lot of dance does not translate well when frozen in a still. What is needed for the still camera is much more specific than what is presented on stage during a live performance.

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EVELYN HART (1980) Photo credit: David Cooper

There is a beauty and striving for perfection in ballet that I found in Evelyn Hart who was a soloist with the company in 1978. It was only two years later that she won the gold metal at International Ballet Competition in Varna, Bulgaria.

Performance here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v_ycPIV4hEQ&feature=share

I was invited back to the RWB in 1980 to shoot their promo photos and souvenir book. This began a 30 year relationship with the company.

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Evelyn was the only dancer who would discuss lighting before a shoot. She would suggest silhouette or back light and have a clear idea of what she wanted in her photographs.

 

She brought tremendous energy and a sense of humor to the photo sessions that demystified how big a star she was. Here she is during a photocall for Giselle goofing around with a big nose and glasses.

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(Evelyn&Emily)

 

In July of 1985 my daughter Emily was born. A month later I had my annual trip to the RWB to set up a studio and shoot the company. I brought the family with me and Evelyn presented us with the smallest pair of ballet slippers for our 5 week old daughter. She held Emily over her head on pointe and my daughter was introduced to the world of ballet being partnered by one of the greatest ballerinas of our time.

 

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 Evelyn was a very passionate dancer, like a great actress. She was very sensitive to music too. I remember she was once reviewing a contact sheet from Giselle. There were these blurred images during the mad scene where the light was too low to get a high enough shutter to freeze the motion. I thought I had messed up technically but she got really excited when she saw those frames and said the blurs felt exactly like she feels in that moment. The motion and blurs were perfect according to her. The camera was in sync with her emotions. She felt things in a very deep way through dance and I was responding to them with my camera.

There is a permanence to a still photo that lives on forever so ballet dancers are by far the most critical of themselves in pictures and by nature very hard to please.  But I love the challenge. To this day, I love shooting during the morning class and hanging out in the wings during a performance. 

David Cooper

 

Website: http://davidcooperphotography.com/

Blog made possible by Impact Dance Productions, Founder&CEO Danielle Gardner, http://www.daniellelgardner.com and David Cooper