For many people, securing an agent is the ultimate goal in the dance community. However that is not a goal. That is a dream. A desire. According to most experts, Goal-setting ideally involves establishing specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-targeted (S.M.A.R.T.) objectives. So it’s not enough to say, “I want an agent.” What you should be asking yourself is, “what steps can I take to get an agent interested in what I have to offer?” There are a few things agents look for when signing talent, as well as active steps you can take to get them to recognize your value. S.M.A.R.T goals you can set for yourself according to Fly Gyal’s experience:
- Hone in on your skillset. If you want to be a commercial hip-hop dancer, take the classes that will make you the best. That means taking specialty classes like waacking, popping, waving and street jazz. If your ultimate dream is to be in a modern company, take contemporary, ballet and improv classes. Every dancer should be taking ballet (since it is the foundation), so try to integrate at least 2 classes a week of some kind of technical or stretch class.
- Create your own luck. An agent likes to know that you can take matters into your own hands. In other words, have at least the basic bases covered before even thinking about getting signed. These bases are:
- Résumé: Keep your resume to 1-page and only include recognizable jobs that make you unique and an asset to the agency. Like your grandmother, agents like to brag about their talent roster.
- Reel: Have some kind of professional demo reel or YouTube link you can direct agent to. It’s great that you can dance, but they want to see it for themselves.
- Make the big move! If you are serious about being a professional dancer, you must prove it by moving to the big cities where the jobs are. This is NY and LA. Georgia and Florida are starting to make a name for themselves in the industry but for the most part, NY and LA are where the agent offices are as well as the high paying gigs. You must be ready and available to go to an audition at a moment’s notice and there’s no way an agent will represent you if you can’t even attend the auditions.
- Get involved in the dance community! There are shows and choreography showcases that happen at least 5 times a year. And who attends these showcases? Yes, agents! Every top talent agency has reps in the building watching and scouting for the next big act. This is an opportunity for you to get noticed while performing alongside other amazing dancers. Make connections with choreographers, take classes with the ones who are actively working, and network! Use your networking skills to get what you want. Our careers are too short to stay hidden in the wings. Get out there and show ‘em that you aren’t only a great student, but that you can perform with the best of the best as well.
- Attend agency auditions. To be honest, agency auditions are cattle calls and it is very rare that a dancer gets signed after attending one. Since they only happen once a year, you will be competing with over 500 other dancers for that one coveted spot. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t attend them. All the more reason to see the competition that you’re contending with. It’s also a great way to see what qualities in a dancer the agencies are looking for. You will gain exposure amongst the head honchos in the business, and you will also get invaluable audition experience.
- Submissions. On almost every agency website, they allow you the opportunity to submit your materials in consideration for representation. At Fly Gyal, we say do it! This is a great way to let the agents know you are a contender, and that you aren’t afraid to get what you want. Make sure to include all required materials, and whatever you send should be a professional representation of your talents. Most require the following:
- Cover letter with current address, phone number and email address
- A headshot
- Dance reel/Links
Once you send in your materials, forget about it. That right! Go on with your life and do not wait for a response. More often than not you will not get a call unless they are serious about signing you. Whatever you do, DO NOT call the office. If they want you, they will contact you! Let your skills and experiences speak for themselves. If you do not get a callback, feel free to resubmit updated materials every 6 months. We hope this helps in achieving your dream of securing representation. Do your homework and ask your friends who are signed if they are happy with the agency they are with. The industry is always changing and who’s hot today may not be so great for your personal endeavors. Above all else, KNOW YOUR WORTH and create your own luck!