Starting a career as a choreographer can be tough. It often takes years of making work to book regular performances for your company or project. Here are a few ideas on how to get your work out there and seen by an audience.
#1. Apply, apply, apply
The best way to get your work seen is to, well, show your work! Most dance communities have venues and programs that support emerging choreographers by providing them with free or low cost performance space and technical support. Become familiar with performance venues and festivals in your area and keep an eye out for calls for choreography. Be tenacious, even if your application is rejected. Stay in contact with the venue and reapply next year!
#2. Invest in good media
Quality photography and videography can go a long way, both for marketing purposes and in application submissions. Make sure your videos are clear and well-edited and that your photos are eye-grabbing. Create a website for yourself that is succinct but visually pleasing.
#3. Smart social media
Social media gives you a way to display your work to a larger audience than the amount of people you normally encounter in person. Sharing some rehearsal footage or a short performance trailer on social media platforms is a great way to show your friends and colleagues what you’re working on and entice them into attending your performances.
#4. Invite your friends
Despite this technological age we’re living in, person-to-person invites are still an effective way of building an audience. People attend performances of artists they respect and also artists they care about. Postcard campaigns are helpful when talking to someone in person. Share what you’re working on and then give them a postcard or small flyer.
#5. Host a fundraising event
If you’re running a nonprofit dance company or are just starting out, chances are high that you are in need of funds to support your project. Hosting a fundraiser can help you raise money and build your audience base. Try collaborating with a local business for your event, such as a bar, art gallery or park. Events that combine a short performance with food and drink create a fun, party atmosphere for people to learn about your work.
#6. Target potential donors
This can be a tricky one, but establishing an individual donor base is an important aspect of building a dance company. Seek out connections with private individuals who show interest in the arts, and share your work with them.
#7. Split the bill
Self-producing your own show can be costly, so consider sharing a program of your work with one or two other choreographers. You will create new connections, build a bigger audience and share the cost of the venue and technical support with your fellow artists.
#8. Apply to residency programs
Being a resident artist of a dance organization can be a huge step in launching your career and your work. Residencies usually include free or discounted rehearsal space, mentorship, production support and opportunities to show your work. Keep an eye out for application requests, and submit!
By Katherine Moore of Dance Informa.
Photo (top): Choreographer Rachel Hettinger’s work at the Young Choreographer’s Festival, New York. Photo by Jaqi Medlock.