Career success in the arts|
famous dancer and choreographer, gives advice on how to succeed in a career in
I asked John how he got started and what requirements there
are. "Well, to be a professional dancer it's useful to have had acting lessons
or some background in drama. If you want to succeed in musical theatre you have
to have a good singing voice as well. When you approach an agent you should take
a portfolio with your CV, your statistics sheet and some good photos and reviews
of past performances. You'll need dance clothes, ballet shoes, tap shoes, and
even roller skates depending on what kind of show you are going to go for."
course, you need to be extremely fit if you want to be a professional dancer.
I dance or move about for about six hours a day. There are great health benefits
to being a dancer. I can eat a lot of pasta without gaining weight because dancing
increases your metabolism so much."
John has a very
busy schedule in the next few months. He took time out to speak to me today from
the making of a pop video to promote N-ergy's latest record. "I choreographed
the dance routine for the boys and they only had 2 days in which to learn it!
I am going to be working on a video for another well known band - but that's top
secret. Next month I'll be touring Spain in a production of a musical that was
written by a friend of mine, Michaela Evans.
As for the future,
I've come to realise that I would never be content to be just a chorus dancer
- I'm too much of an individual for that. Like all artists I'd love to become
a household name by writing and choreographing my own musicals."
was born in Jamaica to a Jamaican father and a Scottish mother but the family
emigrated to England 20 years ago. "I have a little sister I adore, who is also
training to be a dancer." How does it feel to have someone else following in your
Has he much more
to learn, I wondered. "I've spent an incredible amount of my life training to
get where I am. I went to college for two years in England, I trained for six
months in Paris and about eight months in America. But you never really stop training
or learning your art."
So, would you
say it's been plain sailing? "I feel I've been lucky to a degree; many people
hit problems breaking into the arts. It can be a vicious circle really. You can't
become a member of Equity, which is the actors' and dancers' union, without good
contracts. and you can't get good contracts without being a member of Equity.
My advice to people who want to get into the arts would be to go out into the
world, and try everything else first.
What has a dance
career done for you as a person? "Thanks to dancing, I've visited and performed
in 23 countries so far. This has opened my eyes to the world, and I've been able
to understand issues like racism and inequality from a wider perspective.
Hopefully this has
enabled me to become a better and more tolerant person as a result.
"So all in all I'm really happy to be a dancer!"
It's fine, but I try not to give out too much advice as it gets irritating!|
B And if nothing you like comes out of it, then come back and be an
actor or dancer.
C Without a strict daily timetable like this
you find yourself wasting too much time.
D After that it's back
to England to start a new term of dance classes.
E When it comes
to coping with stress, I find that exercise helps me to cope with my problems,
so I stay in good shape mentally as well.
F Like any profession
where you're always travelling, you tend to acquire something new almost every
G Being fully equipped with all this stuff beforehand makes
it easier when you go for auditions.