When you embark on audition season, there’s a big goal: get a job. In an ideal case, the job would also be paid. That’s the starting-out dream for many dancers. However, as you know, dance is competitive, and getting that paid job (or a job where you’re at least not paying tuition) can take time and a few attempts.

Dancers work with me through audition season so they can maintain a less-stressed approach and tackle this worrisome time with strategy and intention. We also create something I like to call an inspired backup plan. The goal of this backup plan is not to encourage settling but rather to have something to look forward to if the dream is not achieved this season.

inspired backup plan in dance

What is an inspired backup plan?

Your inspired backup plan is a plan that will still support your goal of getting to the next steps in your dance career. It has to be something you’re excited about with similar enthusiasm as you have for achieving the company job.

It’s really important to acknowledge that this plan isn’t about giving up. It’s about creating an action plan that will support you to achieve the goal, just with a different timeline than you originally hoped.

What do you need to include in your inspired backup plan in dance?

To create your inspired backup plan, first consider what you need to achieve the goal of the pro dancing job. Are you in need of more technical training? Do you need to further develop as an artist through more performance opportunities? Perhaps you need to be surrounded by a higher caliber of dancer in order to gain inspiration and uplevel your personal achievement.

If you’re not sure what you need to succeed, reach out to a trusted mentor or (perhaps better yet) set up a private lesson with a dance pro who knows the industry and ask them for an honest evaluation on your professional dancing potential.

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My inspired backup plan.

When I left the Louisville Ballet, I knew I wanted to be closer to home on the East Coast. I didn’t have a concrete job offer. In order to keep my dream alive, I moved to Boston with a friend. I set my sights on a small ballet company in Cambridge. 

The goal with Boston was to freelance, take class every day, work to support myself and my dreams, and get a contract with the company in Cambridge. This plan would keep me busy, allow me to build some savings for future auditions, and would keep me dancing daily and performing.

I was also really excited to live in Boston as it had been a dream of mine since I attended the Boston Ballet Summer Intensive in my teens. 

Thinking about that plan got me excited! It was something I was looking forward to and got me through the uncertainty of auditions. This plan kept me feeling positive and moving forward. That uncertain but exciting and hopeful part of my dance journey is part of my inspiration in supporting you to create an inspired backup plan for yourself.

Creating your own inspired backup plan in dance.

To actually craft an attainable plan, start to ask yourself some questions:

  • Is there a city with a good dance scene that I’m interested in exploring further?
  • Is there a teacher or company I’m interested in training with or alongside?
  • Do I have friends or connections who could help me acclimate to a new city?
  • Will I be embarking on this plan alone or do I have support from family?
  • Where are there opportunities in dance that I’d be excited to be a part of?

In order to actually manifest the reality of your action plan, you’ll likely have to do some real planning. Consider the financial realities of the plan. Make sure there are housing options you’re open to. Most importantly, make sure you’re taking a step to ensure your future success. 

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Your inspired backup plan isn’t giving up or settling. You’re finding a way to continue moving forward towards the goal of a company contract while supporting yourself and prioritizing your growth. Use the time to gain inspiration and learn more about who you are, your gifts, and what you have to offer.

Not sure if you have a supportive backup plan in place? Are you struggling to craft a backup plan that you feel excited about? Reach out!

Audition Season: Inspired Backup Plan

Jess Spinner

Jess is a former professional ballet dancer turned Holistic Health, Nutrition, and Lifestyle Coach for high level dancers. She founded The Whole Dancer in 2015 after identifying a greater need for balance, wellness and support in the dance world. Since The Whole Dancer was founded, Jess has worked with 100's of dancers worldwide at top companies and schools. She has been featured in or written for Dance Magazine, Dance Teacher Magazine, Pointe Magazine, and Dance Spirit Magazine.

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