Dream Dance Company, founded in 2015, by Director Marko Panzic as Australia’s first commercial dance company, launched a three-month program called Show | Business in 2016. Aimed at artists who are in the gap between full-time study and performing professionally, Show | Business seeks to redefine the next generation of young dancers being fed into the entertainment industry.
Having recently wrapped up the 2018 course, Panzic filled us in on Show | Business and dished on where former graduates are performing and working today. Panzic started by laying out his original intention for the course – to provide budding artists the knowledge on how to run their own business and ultimately build their own brand.
“Australia has an overflow of dancers, and our supply to demand is very out of balance,” Panzic explains. “My motivation was to not create more dancers in the industry but to create more entrepreneurs who can be out in Australia building work for the future generations. The three months is very intense and only is suited for a certain artist. The audition process is very selective, as I like to keep the numbers intimate and manageable. The challenges in the three months are huge, not only on a dance and business level but also from a self-development point of view. The program really breaks down walls and helps the artist discover what their real purpose is and gives more clarity on a career ahead.”
While many artists graduating full-time courses have the physical training, stamina and spark, they often don’t have a clear idea on how to manage themselves like a business. To Panzic, this is the hole that Show | Business can fill. By keeping the program enrolment small (only 30 students are accepted), the faculty is really able to invest time in the branding of each artist.
“As everyone’s dreams and goals are unique and individual, we really work one-on-one with each student to help develop and work out a direction and brand,” Panzic says. “During the three months, we have brilliant lecturers who help students on various business topics.”
One hands-on experience students enjoy is being tasked to run a charity event. Panzic believes this helps them understand marketing, event planning, budgeting and dealing with every aspect of running an event.
Upon completion of the course, the artists are educated on directing, producing and putting together a live show at NIDA.
“Our priority is with the artists being heavily involved with the live show, as there are only certain tools and information you can learn while being involved in the process of putting together a show,” Panzic explains.
Today, Show | Business graduates have gone on to fantastic jobs across Australia. Ash Power of Season 1 is a working dancer and an agent at Jeep Management. Hayley Burdon, also of Season 1, started her own performance company in Perth, and is employing area dancers for work continuously.
Burdon tells us, “The Show | Business course is the reason I started my business! If I didn’t do this course, I would have always had an excuse to why I couldn’t do what I am doing now, and I also would have had no idea where to even start. It was the kick I needed, and it worked! I was pushed and challenged every single day of this course, and I cannot thank Marko and Katie [Sanchez] enough for putting together such an incredible concept for young and upcoming creatives. Show | Business is the one!”
Other graduates include Ben Turland of Season 2, who has now worked as a dancer on The Voice Australia and with Samantha Jade, and Luca Dinardo of Melbourne’s edition of Show | Business in 2017, who was hired for Bring It On The Musical and has assisted many choreographers around the country.
Panzic says, “We have also had many alumni take cruise ship contracts and many other amazing offers and opportunities.”
Not one to overlook exceptional talent, Panzic has also hired many Show | Business graduates for his own Dream Dance Company, like Season 1’s Lucy Doherty, Season 2’s Chanel Cahill and Season 3’s Sinan Amin.
“One of the best things about the Show | Business program is we continuously stay updated and connected with each artist to help with managing and directing their individual careers even years after they have finished,” Panzic shares. “Nothing makes me more proud then seeing the Show | Business students out creating and developing their own brands.”
Besides its shorter length and focus on business, you might be wondering what else really sets Show | Business apart from other courses. Panzic also highlights the exceptional faculty, including tutors direct from Los Angeles, like Danielle Polanco, Rhapsody James, Lee Daniel, Candace Brown, Gerran Reese, Caetlyn Watson, Kerrie Milne and Rob Rich. Season 1 graduate Blake John Wood, now a working choreographer and teacher, points to “the personalised one-on-one development and attention to detail.”
Calling Show | Business “one of the greatest career investments” he has made, Wood adds, “The course has further provided me with the tools to exercise my creativity and recognise that this industry is a business as much as it is an art form. Look no further!”
Many of his fellow alumnae share his zeal. Performing artist and graduate Jenna Kratzel says, “I have so much love and gratitude toward the family that is Show | Business and can honestly say this experience has changed my life. Show | Business is the program that allowed me to get from where I was to where I wanted to be. The support and guidance was second to none, and I will cherish it forever.”
Dancer and choreographer Shannon Hanrahan, also a Show | Business graduate, says, “Show | Business taught me how to acknowledge that the traits I used to believe created my ‘flaws’ and ‘insecurities’ are in fact strengths, which are at the core of what I establish as an immensely positive point of difference for me as an artist, dancer, choreographer and human being.”
Reflecting on where the course is now, Panzic exclaims, “After three years, the response and affect of this program makes me so proud, and I know what we are creating and putting into the industry is helping build a stronger community for the future generations!”
Show | Business is now accepting registrations for its next course, running April to June 2019. For more information, head to www.thedreamdancecompany.com/showbusiness. To register, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Chelsea Thomas of Dance Informa.