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How to Write Your First Professional Dance Resume

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Do you dream of being a professional dancer someday? Beyond just dance skills, you’ll need to know how to write a dance resume to start on your career path. Read on for some great advice from New York dancer and teacher Caitlin J.:

For the pre-professional dancer, landing your first paid gig can be a daunting task. With only a few contacts, it is difficult to know where to start. Most jobs require a minimum submission of a headshot and resume. While you might feel like your resume is sparse, a little reflection on your dance education and involvement may prove that you are more experienced than you think. Follow the guidelines below to learn how to write a dance resume!

Start With “Training”

This is a good place for dancers who desire to go professional to start because it will likely make up the bulk of your resume. The “Training” section is where you will list all the places you have taken dance lessons, the styles you have studied, and the instructors you were exposed to. It is good to get specific with your technique styles, for example “Precision Jazz” instead of just “Jazz”, or “Cecchetti Method” instead of just “Ballet”. And don’t worry if some of your instructors may not have had a notable professional career. If they could give a good personal reference on your behalf, they are worth mentioning by name on your resume.

Include any “Teaching Experience”

Here you will list places you have instructed, what style you were leading, and for how long. Maybe you haven’t had any professional teaching experience up to that point, but include times that you assisted a faculty instructor or choreographer. Whether you volunteered weekly at your home studio or demonstrated for a master teacher at a convention, this experience can be included on your first dance resume.

List Your “Stage/Live Performance” Background

This section of your resume is where you will list the most prominent performances you have been a part of. Make sure to list the name of the performance (ABC Ballet Academy Presents “Swan Lake”), your role in the production (“Odette”), and the months that the performance ran (Dec. 2013). If you can list several performances with the same studio or company, list first the company (“ABC Ballet Academy”), and then indented underneath all of the performance titles (“Swan Lake”, “Dracula”) each on their own separate line. Choose carefully which performances to include. If you have danced with the same ballet troupe since you were three, your principal roles are more important to note than your role as a flower in the garden from your days as a tiny tutu dancer.

Conclude With “Education”, “Skills”, and “Commercials/Industrials”

These three headers might not be included on every resume, and that is okay. “Education” is where you will list any secondary education you received from an accredited institution. If you only have a high school education, that may be listed here, but if you have received a college degree, do not list your high school education. “Skills” is where you will mention if you can tumble and what tricks you have mastered, if you are a vocalist and what your range is, if you play an instrument, or other skills. “Commercials/Industrials” are very rare for the beginner dancer, but may apply in some cases. If you were asked to dance on behalf of a company or brand, include that here. First list the event (“ABC Clothing Co. Fashion Show”), followed by the name of your contact/reference from the event as well as the date.

In conclusion:

  • Be specific when listing your experiences (who you took from, where you studied, what style, and when you performed)
  • Be creative in areas where you think your experiences are lacking, don’t sell yourself short! Expand on what little experience you DO have
  • Be selective in areas where you may have a lot of experience by not including the least recent or least relevant experiences

Now that you know how to write a dance resume, you’re on the right track to finding the career of your dreams. Happy job hunting!

Caitlin

Caitlin J. is a Manhattan-based professional dancer and fitness instructor. She is currently performing as a Brooklynettes dancer for the 2014-2015 NBA season. Some highlights of her education include attending the Radio City Rockette Summer Intensive, a contemporary dance apprenticeship at Dance Alloy, and David DeMarie Dance Studio summer sessions alongside stars from SYTYCD. Learn more about Caitlin here!

 

(Photo by provided by A.J. Smith of High End Concepts Photography)

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