It’s great to be the coolest contemporary dancer at your studio, and it can feel pretty cool to be the best ballerina on the block. But if you want to go pro, especially in the commercial dance industry, there’s one skill insiders say you absolutely need to have — and it isn’t perfect turnout, a flawless layout, or the ability to bust out a few back tucks on command.
So what’s the secret sauce?
“Versatility can, quite literally, double your opportunities in the professional world,” says Shayna Brouillard, manager at Brooklyn Management Inc. “There are auditions every single day in L.A. — some of them for technical dancers and some of them for commercial hip hop. So the more styles you’re well-versed in, the more opportunities there are to succeed.” This also goes for dancers who have special skills, like freestyling, b-boy or b-girling, or aerialists. “If a company can hire one artist to do two jobs, they will,” Brouillard says.
Thank you to @sheilamilner for letting me work with your amazing students while I was in Houston. ?✨ ——————- Rather than teaching some dance steps I give kids and young adults the things I wish I heard when I was younger. Y'all can always reach out to me for privates, teaching, or anything else you might need. ✨✌? #dance #immabeast #ladygaga #beyonce #janetjackson #hausofgaga #dancezone #houston #love #happy #instagood
Case in point: Reina Hidalgo and China Taylor. “Reina is a wonderful example of a successful dancer whose versatility has always served her well,” Brouillard says. “She’s one of the few dancers in L.A. who is also a professional-level aerialist. This has led her to perform as both a dancer and aerialist on tours with P!nk, Rihanna, and Kylie Minogue.
And China Taylor trained in all styles growing up before moving to L.A. at 16 — where she began working immediately. “One day she’s on set of a television show working with Marguerite Derricks, and the next day she’s in rehearsals for Lady Gaga at the Super Bowl,” Brouillard says. “She hasn’t stopped working since she arrived here, and that can be attributed partially to her being able to do any style that’s asked of her.”
Being versatile doesn’t necessarily mean being the best at every style — but it does mean having a vast set of skills and the confidence to bust out any of them so you can rock any given audition. So stop reading this and get to class in a style that’s not within your comfort zone!