By Brian Henninger
What is a side hustle? I think of it as some type of job or revenue stream that is not just “gigs”. While it may be your dream to live your life on stage and get paid to perform in shows, music videos, tv, etc, VERY FEW people in the dance industry are actually able to make that a sustainable career over time. Sure you may have a great run for a year or 2 years, or just a few months where you are working steadily doing different gigs. But this is NOT the norm for most professional dancers.
Consider this, Your average open call audition in LA for a major artist’s tour may have a turn out of over 1,000 hopeful dancers. The problem is they are only picking 10 dancers, and 8 of those slots are probably already filled by dancers who have either worked with that artist before on the last tour, or have a great relationship with the choreographer (hence why your industry relationships are extremely important!). So that means that there might be 2 potential slots for over 1,000 dancers… thats a 0.2% chance if you’re just talking about the math… Are you starting to see why it might be important to have some other stream of income besides just “gigging” ?
Obviously if you are talented, you put the time in, and you’re smart those opportunities WILL come, but it is important to have your financial bases covered. The whole idea of “I’m just a struggling artist” is a copout for a person who isn’t motivated enough to be a grown up and handle themselves as a professional INDIVIDUAL.
Here are some popular side hustle’s that many dancers use. The great thing about all of these is that you can find a genuine passion for each and everyone and they all benefit your artistic career as well!
1. Teach dance at a studio You learn a lot about your self, your style, and your ability to choreograph by teaching. As you progress as a teacher your ability to mold and shape the training of dancers gets better over time as well. Some of the most well known dancers are also avid teachers on conventions, in workshops, or just at small local studios.
2. Photography Ever have an itch to learn more about photography? Dancers who take up photography and excel at it become some of the most sought after headshot photographers because 1) they know exactly what your looking for in terms of a picture 2) they can use their existing network of friends to build a portfolio in a very short amount of time. Photography is also great a creative and artistic outlet.
3. Videography Videographers have never been in higher demand by dancers, and choreographers. The Youtube generation, for better or worse, has changed the landscape of the dance industry and more often people are booking jobs just based off of photos, and video footage. This can become a very lucrative side hustle for you!
In addition to these there are also numerous others related to fitness (Personal training, Yoga instructors, etc.) that you can pursue as well. Don’t be afraid to get creative! Literally anywhere you can find a need for a service that you can provide, you will also find opportunity for you to support yourself by doing something you ENJOY.
The goal is not to suffer your way to your dream job because once its over… ITS OVER. It’s just another job on your resume. The real goal in my opinion is to ENJOY each and every day you have the chance to dance, perform, emote, create, and inspire others. I believe that its possible to do this and also to live a comfortable lifestyle. Just because you need to get a part time job for a while does not mean you are “giving up” on your dreams. Rather, it means that you care enough about your dreams to preserve them and have the ability to invest in them.
Make sure to check out www.bookdancejobs.com for more great career advice!