I recently had a conversation with a fellow actor who is taking A LOT of ballet classes because he’s looking to book more theatre work.
“Are you primarily a dancer?” I asked.
No, he was just taking all those classes to improve his dancing.
I wanted to grab his shoulders and shake him: “No one is hiring you for your ballet technique. You’re an actor. STOP spending that money.”
Listen up, you have to play to your strengths. If you are a singer and an actor, no one is hiring you for your dancing skills. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take dance classes. You just have to take the right kind of dance classes. And the same goes for dancers with amazing technique that still aren’t sure why they’re not getting callbacks.
So no matter what your forte is, here’s the next class I think you should invest into help you nail your next dance audition.
FOR ACTORS/SINGERS: Get into the theatre or jazz class where the focus is on style.
While it is important to have a solid foundation, your money is better spent learning how to pick up choreography. and tell a story through movement. Don’t stress about the fine points of turning out from the hips. Ballet is good conditioning, and you will definitely learn basic technique, but that’s not why people are hiring actors and singers.
If you can pick up the movement, regardless of the precision or extension, and you make choices that align with your personality (with a resume that represents your strengths), your chances of getting that callback will increase without the added pressure of mastering a whole new skill.
FOR DANCERS: Get into an acting/improv class.
If you are a dancer with amazing technique, you have to work on bringing your unique personality to the movement. Sure, dance classes are essential, but one of the best ways to feel free with the movement is by training your brain to make choices on the spot. Even just one Improv 101 class can teach you a lot about thinking on your feet, not just with them. And it can make a noticeable difference in your interpretation of the movement. However, don’t stop taking ballet.
What are your favorite dance classes to let loose and infuse your personality with the movement? Do you have a go-to theatre class that helps you learn choreography? Let me know how you prepare for your dance calls in the comments below.
This is part one of a three-part series all about nailing your next theatre audition. So stay tuned for Part 2 and 3 over the next few months.