Greetings hopeless millennials, and welcome back to Career Development With a Twist, the career development service with no artificial preservatives!
This week’s edition is especially for you aspiring dancers approaching auditions with hopes of getting your foot in the door. If you have yet to book a paid dance job, you may find this door to be an endless revolving door, since everyone seems to want applicants with an elusive “3 years of prior professional dance experience.”
But have no fear! By making these simple stylistic and philosophical adjustments to your resume, even you can convince auditioners that you have enough professional experience to be allowed gain professional experience!
1. Expand your definition of “paid.”
Sure the common interpretation of a “professional” is someone who receives money for their work, but it can be beneficial to consider other types of performance compensation as equally valid.
- Have you ever been provided with complimentary transportation for a performance? Can an elevator technically be considered a form of transportation?
- Were there some pretzels or chips left in the dressing room to share? Salt has historically been recognized as a form of currency in many societies, so that’s basically the same as an edible paycheck.
(Disclaimer: A more inclusive definition of the term “paid” may come back to bite you if and when you ever get a job.)
2. Expand your definition of “dance job.”
The world is a stage, so any activity can technically be considered a performance opportunity. Highlight the dance aspect of any paid job you have held, and you might find that you’ve been a “professional dancer” longer than you knew!
- Instead of describing your position as an “Administrative Assistant,” try “Office Party Electric Slide Soloist.”
- Instead of describing your summer experience as a “Lifeguard,” try “Durational Performance Art Piece: Exploring Stillness and Spectatorship.”
3. Work around the 3-year requirement by highlighting the subjectivity of time.
How do you measure – measure a year? Include some comments with your date ranges to convince the directors that it’s too confusing to even try!
- XYZ Dance Company 2014-2015 (But like time is relative to the speed of the observer, so don’t read too much into it.)
- DeathTrap Theme Park Performer June 2016-August 2016 (If you subscribe to the construct of uniform measured time imposed by post-industrial capitalism)
- Stevie’s Dance Project June 2015 (But it felt like 20 years–those rehearsals were awful.)