Becoming a Financially Independent Dancer

Financially Independent Dancer

by Catherine Mancuso, Ocean County College Lecturer II, Dance
Performing Arts Program

How to be a Financially Independent Dancer

In all my years of intensive dance training I was told that in order to succeed in the dance industry I needed to take as many classes as possible and train as hard as I could. I was told to take classes with choreographers I wanted to work with and to study at the best institutions in the country. I was told it would be hard but that if I was willing to put in the time and effort, I would be rewarded greatly. So what did I do? I trained hard and followed this advice to the letter. I’m sure many of you have done this as well. What no one told me was that being a dancer meant being the CEO of my own business. No one talks about a career in dance this way. The reality is that you need to be your own accountant, lawyer, manager, branding specialist, PR rep, website designer, social media strategist, content creator, media editor, HR, and payroll. I learned a lot of this information the hard way, but what I learned from my experience early on is that you must treat your dance life like a business or else you will be a starving artist. If I could go back and do college again I would have allocated one of my electives for a business 101 course. In my opinion, it should be a required course for all dance majors.

I can tell you from my own experience in the industry that treating your dance life as a business is vitally important information that will keep you from being a starving artist and allow you to thrive financially and mentally as a dancer. I’ve noticed a trend in the world of dance to push the business aspect aside and rely on your artistry alone to survive.  The fact of the matter is that the number of jobs available is much lower than the number of people applying for those jobs.  A 2014 study conducted by the BFAMFAPhD found that while 2 million arts graduates have degrees in the visual and performing arts, only 10% make their living as working artists. That is a staggeringly low statistic. If you want to survive and earn a living you must invest in yourself as a business entity.

The key to survival in the current job market is to implement a strong business plan that includes multiple streams of income, a strong marketing plan, and a unified brand image. So how exactly do you do this successfully?

Here are my top 3 strategies for setting up your dance life as a business:

  1. Invest your time and money into learning about business. When I first set out to create a business model for myself, I spent a lot of time researching business information online. I followed people on social media who were social media strategists, business advisors, and entrepreneurs who consistently gave out advice and information about running a business. When I had exhausted all of the free resources I began hiring coaches and mentors to take my plans to the next level. The biggest jumps in my business success came after I hired people to help me, but I made a lot of headway early on by investing my time when I didn’t have the money to invest. The free information gave me a solid foundation to start with and I definitely recommend you exhaust all these sources first.
  2. Identify your mission statement. What is your mission and purpose in life? Why do you do what you do? Your mission should encompass all aspects of your vision both performance and non-performance related. Use this mission to brand yourself and have this message everywhere for potential clients to see.
  3. Create multiple streams of income. In addition to performing what other services do you have to offer? There are a lot of people willing to pay for services that they don’t know how to do or don’t have time to do. Here’s a list of some ideas to get you started:
  • Teach Private Dance Lessons
  • One-on-One yoga sessions
  • One-on-One Pilates sessions
  • Music editing
  • Writing about dance for magazines and news outlets
  • Financial Planning
  • Organization skills
  • Dance Wear Designer
  • Nutrition and Meal Planning
  • Social Media Marketing

This is just a list of skills you may have and is only meant to be a reference point. Think about a problem that people have and how you can solve it. If it’s a common problem, people will be very interested in your services.

We as an industry must let go of the idea that being a starving artist is normal and acceptable. This image takes the control out of our hands and places it blindly in the hands of others. This is not, nor should it ever be the case. If you look at any other arts related endeavors, you’ll see that the business model is completely entrenched in it. One example is the film industry. You don’t see major Hollywood films creating a movie and just hoping that someone pays to see it. There is a huge team involved that ensures the business model for the film is set up to succeed and earn money. You must do the same for yourself as a dancer.

Share This:

Just Announced: An Evening with Todd Frazier – January 19, 2018 at 8:00pm.

Hometown baseball hero Todd Frazier will join fans from his native Toms River for an evening of baseball talk on Friday, January 19, 2018. Along with moderator Russ Salzberg, Todd will discuss his experiences playing baseball and growing up in Toms River, all the way through his current Major League Baseball success.

Known just as much for his down-to-earth personality and perpetually sunny disposition as his All-Star play, Todd Frazier is no stranger to the public eye.

Frazier was a star on the Toms River East American Little League All-Star team that won the 1998 Little League World Series. He is a Rutgers Baseball alum, and was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds in 2007. Frazier was the winner of the 2015 MLB Home Run Derby on his home field in Cincinnati. In 2015 Frazier was traded to the Chicago White Sox and in 2017 he was traded to and currently plays for the New York Yankees.

Starting Friday, October 20, 2017 at 10:00am, tickets will go on sale to Grunin Center Subscribers ONLY, by phone or walk-up. Tickets for Grunin Center Subscribers will also be discounted for a limited time to $25 each, a savings of $10 off the face value (ticket processing fees and optional shipping fees apply). All patrons are eligible to purchase a Grunin Center Subscription between now and Monday, November 13, 2017 to be eligible for the Subscriber price!

Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Monday, November 13, 2017 at 10:00am for $35 each.

The Grunin Center Box Office is open Monday – Friday, from 10am to 5pm. You can call us at 732-255-0500 to purchase your Grunin Center Subscription and Early Access tickets!

A pre-show Meet & Greet will take place for event sponsors. If you are interested in becoming an event sponsor, please email grunincenter@ocean.edu

Play Ball!

Share This:

Accommodations & the Arts

grunin center

by Gina Zippo-Mazur, MS, LAC, CRC, CPRP, Ocean County College Coordinator of Disability Services

Most people get to experience the Arts with typical senses and abilities that allows a person to appreciate and process the experience of theatre, music and the arts in several ways. When thinking about people with disabilities, we must question how people with impairments get the same artistic experience. People with disabilities have the right to access anything and everything people without disabilities do. It begins by having conversations about inclusion and awareness.

Inclusive practices allow people with disabilities to openly access accommodations that help them gain a theatrical experience just like the general public.  Accommodations such as captioning services and assistive listening devices for the hard of hearing and Sign Language Interpreters for the Deaf are most commonly utilized in the Arts. Sensory friendly shows can offer people with Autism a safe and enjoyable environment by simply turning the lights up, reducing loud or jarring sounds, and allow people to talk, move, dance, all during a theatrical experience.

What else? Safety is a priority for all who attend theatre and exhibits. Most importantly, people using mobility devices must have access to accessible seating and clear pathways for exits in case of emergency. Safety practices can be provided through training, which is an integral part of the customer service experience and adds to providing a meaningful experience for people with disabilities.

Staff who work in the Arts should be formally trained on how to manage accommodation requests and safety protocols, as well as disability etiquette when assisting people with disabilities. It is recommended to have people who have disability involved in facilitating trainings to share their perspectives and experiences with staff. This method follows the “not about us, without us” approach that is vital to breaking stigma and promoting the inclusive environment we want to create in our venues.

The promotion of services and accommodations is a vital part of helping people with disabilities feel welcome. By providing written accommodation statements on advertising materials and webpages, theaters can promote access and inclusion and allow people to get the support and tools they need to gain an integrative experience.  Accessibility standards outlined by federal law mandate accessible materials such as accessible websites that include media advertisements, in addition to providing flyers and brochures that are made available in large font or braille.

The Kennedy Center provides a list of resources through the Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability (LEAD) website. Some resources include Tip sheets on; Training, Service Animals, Relevant ADA Law, and Universal Design practices.

Lastly, we are all responsible and accountable for providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all people.  After all, “Accessibility allows us to tap into everyone’s potential.” ― Debra Ruh

Visit the Accessibility page to learn more about the Grunin Center’s accommodation offerings.

Share This:

COUNT BASIE THEATRE, GRUNIN CENTER FOR THE ARTS ANNOUNCE AREA TEENS TAPPED FOR PERFORMANCES OF BRUNDIBÀR AND FRIEDL

Performances set for the weekend of August 19th in Red Bank and Toms River; cast culled from Basie Performing Arts Academy camp with famed Los Angeles Opera director Eli Villanueva and musical director Jason Tramm.

(RED BANK, NJ | JULY 12, 2017) The Count Basie Theatre Performing Arts Academy has revealed the names of cast members studying under Los Angeles Opera director Eli Villanueva for a pair of performances in collaboration with the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts at Ocean County College.

The students, part of a two-week intensive headed by Villanueva, will perform Brundibár and Friedl, a pair of dramatic presentations set in Germany’s Theredienstadt concentration camp during World War II. Villanueva will be joined by musical director Jason Tramm, an assistant professor and director of choral activities at Seton Hall University.

Tickets for the Count Basie Theatre performance at 8PM on Saturday, Aug. 19 and the Grunin Center performance at 2PM on Sunday, Aug. 20 are on sale now by clicking through or visiting the venue box offices. All tickets are priced at $20.

Brundibár and Friedl tell important stories of a part our history that we cannot forget or allow to happen again,” said Adam Philipson, President and CEO, Count Basie Theatre. “The stories demonstrate how even under the direst of circumstances, the arts can be transformative.”

“I believe that our performances, made up of some of the most talented young vocalists in Monmouth, Middlesex and Ocean counties, will convey the important messages of the need to overcome injustice and forge a path of tolerance and mutual understanding.”

The following young vocalists have been named to the Brundibár and Friedl casts:

Brundibár: Lauryn Boyle (Wall, chorus); Lev Brewer (Tinton Falls, chorus); Catherine Creed (Highlands, chorus); Cakie Dym (Rumson, chorus); Frances Forte (Rumson, ‘Little Joe’); Amir Kamal (East Brunswick, chorus); Jack Kelly (Toms River, chorus); Olivia Lee (Manahawkin, chorus); Isabella Lee (Manahawkin, chorus); Lydia Lu (Red Bank, chorus); Olivia Marino (Toms River, chorus); Regina Messenger (Toms River, chorus); Isabella Moitoso (Holmdel, chorus); Alejandra Morales (Bayville, ‘Milkman’); Amanda Philipson (Little Silver, ‘Bird’); Andreas Psillos (Toms River, ‘Policeman’) Camille Pugliese (Red Bank, ‘Ice Cream Vendor’); Abigail Pukin (Holmdel, ‘Annette’); Sofia Ranucci (Interlaken, ‘Baker’); Francesca Ranucci (Interlaken, chorus); Nevaeh Sickles (Ocean, chorus); Mia Spallina (Manahawkin, chorus); Grace Sweeney (West Long Branch, chorus); Claire Taylor (Ocean, ‘Dog’); Ria Kiafoulis (Middletown, chorus); Alexandra Pennington (Middletown, chorus); Skylar Yannello (Holmdel, ‘Cat’); Nick DiBlasi (Holmdel, chorus); Trinitee Smith (Red Bank, chorus); Eli Fisch (Elberon, chorus); Alicia Henderson (Manalapan, chorus); Amaya Love (Lakewood, chorus); Nevaeh Love (Lakewood; chorus)

Friedl: Lauryn Boyle (Wall, chorus); Lev Brewer (Tinton Falls, ‘Jerry Rind’); Catherine Creed (Highlands, ‘Tella’); Frances Forte (Rumson, chorus); Amir Kamal (East Brunswick, ‘Josef Novak’); Jack Kelly (Toms River, ‘Ivo Keo Kaytz’); Olivia Lee (Manahawkin, chorus); Isabella Lee (Manahawkin, chorus); Lydia Lu (Red Bank, ‘Ruth’); Olivia Marino (Toms River, ‘Ela’) Isabella Moitoso (Holmdel, chorus); Amanda Philipson (Little Silver, ‘Anita’); Andreas Psillos (Toms River, ‘Peter Ginz’); Camille Pugliese (Red Bank, chorus) Abigail Pukin (Holmdel, ‘Helga’); Sofia Ranucci (Interlaken, ‘Eva’); Nevaeh Sickles (Ocean, ‘Maria’); Mia Spallina (Manahawkin, ‘Flaska’); Claire Taylor (Ocean, ‘Friedl’); Ria Kiafoulis (Middletown, ‘Lilly’); Alexandra Pennington (Middletown, chorus); Skylar Yannello (Holmdel, chorus); Nick DiBlasi (Holmdel, chorus); Trinitee Smith (Red Bank, chorus); Eli Fisch (Elberon, chorus); Alicia Henderson (Manalapan, chorus); Amaya Love (Lakewood; chorus).

Brundibár, by Jewish Czech composer Hans Krása, tells the story of a brother and sister who join forces with a sparrow, a cat and a dog to outwit an evil organ grinder named Brundibár. Brundibár was performed by the children of Theresienstadt concentration camp in occupied Czechoslovakia, and has since been staged around the world to symbolize the plight of people joining forces to fight intolerable situations. “It was performed at the camp 55 times, providing distraction and perhaps a small respite from the misery,” according to the New York Times. “But it was also exploited by the Nazis for propaganda purposes in their attempts to present Theresienstadt as a comfortable environment.”

Friedl tells the story of Theresienstadt prisoner Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, a teacher from Prague who, like all prisoners, were permitted to carry just 50 kilos of personal belongings. While most prisoners understandably chose to pack valuables and personal belongings, Dicker-Brandeis used her allowance to carry art supplies. “Upon arrival in Theresienstadt, children were forcefully separated from their parents and family and sent to live alone in overcrowded children’s houses,” according to the World Holocaust Remembrance Center (www.yadvashem.org), “The starvation, illness and brutality of Theresienstadt, along with lack of stability and structure, put an enormous strain on the coping mechanisms of these children. They desperately needed direction and purpose, and Friedl was there to give them that.”

The Basie’s inaugural opera camp season is sponsored by OceanFirst, and Brundibár is presented by arrangement with Bote & Block Berlin and Boosey & Hawkes, Inc.

Share This:

Welcome to the NEW GruninCenter.org

Welcome!

At the Grunin Center, we strive to provide a first-class experience for our patrons, and therefore we are introducing the new GruninCenter.org!

Take some time to look around; we hope you find our new site engaging, informative, and easy to navigate. Here is just a sampling of the new features we think you’ll love:

  • An easy to navigate show listing section that allows you to search for events, sort by related events, and view in a format that you enjoy.
  • Clearly explained and easy to find policies, procedures, and information about the Grunin Center, and,
  • More information on the arts opportunities we provide outside of Main Stage productions.

In addition to the new website, we also have some exciting new offerings at the Grunin Center:

  • New Subscription Packages! No matter what your taste in performances is, we have a subscription to fit your needs. Learn more by visiting the Subscriptions and Group Sales page.
  • Expanded Community Engagement! Jaclyn Wood has joined our team as the Community Engagement Coordinator, and her goal is to expand our reach in the area. If your group or organization wants to see a show, or discuss a potential engagement opportunity, give her a call!
  • A first-class 2017 – 2018 season! We proudly announced our new season in June. Subscriptions go on sale on Monday, July 3rd at 9:00am, and tickets go on sale Monday, July 17th at 9:00am.

We look forward to welcoming you to an upcoming event, and to an entertaining 2017 – 2018 season.

~The Grunin Center Team

Share This: