I was having a great chat a few days ago with Da’Von Doane, (dancer with Dance Theatre of Harlem) on Facebook. We were talking about, well, of course our selves, but touching on the broader context of dancers and artists having trouble marketing themselves.
With so many dancers in this country put on hiatis and potentially unemployment over the summer months, pick-up jobs are an important way to keep going. But of course to get those jobs you have to let directors, choreographers, etc. know that you are available and, well, available!
Marketing is key to anyone working in the business and commercial world, so much so that companies have whole departments devoted to it. So why do we as artists let that fall so low on our priority lists? I know that I’m just as guilty: I forget about marketing until I find myself in a slow spell.
Perhaps the business and marketing of artists of all kinds ought to be part of any professional training curriculum. When I was training to become a dancer there was no mention of this, apart from one of my favourite teachers telling us we needed pictures and a CV.
Then, moving onto my second career as a photography student in college, again there was the transient conversation with a beloved professor, but nothing really concrete. Hummmm, something missing here. Especially in the arts where we spend so much of our time in the world of “I’m not good enough” and “striving to achieve more,” I do feel that this is a topic worth discussing and exploring as maybe this could help many people. Anyone? Anyone?
The footnote of my conversation with Da’Von was that marketing costs money and dancers are always in very short supply of that.
So I thought I’d try to help by starting a new program for dancers called a “Piggyback Shoot”. A day or two a month I have clients that only need a half a day shoot. If time allows, I can do mini shoots for dancers either right before/after… “piggybacking” off the larger shoot- at a significantly discounted rate. This will give dancers who need to market themselves access to the couple of great shots they need at a cost effective rate that leaves money, to, well, eat.
In the mean time everyone, Da’Von is available so far for the summer months. If you are looking for a very hard working, lovely, fantastic dancer for your projects, he’s at Davondoane@gmail.com.