Thursday, February 11, 2010

Having a dancing career

It is not easy to make a living as a contemporary dancer. You are either the top dancer in your class, and then you may be accepted to a large modern dance company, or you are struggling to make a living, pay your bills and juggle between your part time dancing job, to your other side job.

The side jobs are some times low skilled jobs. I have friends who work as waiters, cleaners and sails men. They don't complain, but I know they're not happy with that, and their dancing career suffers because their jobs are egzosting.

It's not easy to develop a dancing career, and I knew this from the start. But I chose this career anyway. I think a good dancer is not only a person who knows how to move his body. It's a person who knows he can't live with out dancing, and he's ready to make sacrifices and work in low skilled side jobs if necessary.

After you decided that this describes you, now we get to the practical part: How can I still make a living, "incase I don't make it"?

Reading a post about this subject not long ago, I found out of some trades that enable you to make a living and dedicate your time to develop your passion career. These trades include: hairdressing and cosmetics, natural therapies, book keeping, carpentring, electricity etc'. There are other job that allow you a lot of free time to focus on your dancing career.

What did I do?

When I turned 18, what I wanted most was to study dance abroad.

I was lucky enough to get accepted to the Kibbutz contemporary dance company, so for a year I did not have to worry. Instead, I participated in many modern dance performances around the globe, and enjoyed every minute.

After my job at KCDC ended, I returned home and took a massage course. I work at it from time to time, aside from my dance job, and I manage just fine.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Watching a modern dance performance from the audience' perspective

While I was dancing with KCDC (Israeli modern dance company), I participated in four dance pieces, and 20 modern dance performances around the globe.

It was a very stressful time. We were hopping from country to country. Once I woke up in France and thought I'm in Germany. It felt odd J

I also suffered from jet lag, and had a hard time focusing during the rehearsals.

The funny thing is that I never watched our performances from the viewer's perspective. It looks different when you see the performance from the outside. You see the performance itself, and forget the backstage: your personal stress, ambitions, effort, etc'.

So now that the Kibbutz contemporary dance company is coming up with a new modern dance performance, I'm planning on flying to Israel. My plan is to see my old friends from the dance company, sit with the audience and enjoy the show.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

My stay at the Dance Village

During my career in KCDC – Israeli modern dance company, I stayed in what is called the "Dance Village" – a Kibbutz in which the modern dance school, the modern dance workshop and the dancers' dormitory are placed. Kibbutz Ga'aton is located in the beautiful Galilee region. The view from the window when you wake up in the morning is breathtaking.

After living most of my life in the city, this was a great change. I used to wake up early in the morning and hike in the mountains surrounding the village. The 5 a clock hike was an experience I still miss. I think this can be compared to Yoga. It was so quiet during these hours, nothing but the Jackals, the birds, the trees – and me.

I did this two-three times a week, and my instructor at the modern dance center started noticing a change: I was more relaxed, my dance movements were smooth, and my mind was more creative.
I know it sounds weird, but this simple experience taught me what is best for my career as a dancer. After I left the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company and started going to auditions for modern dance companies in the U.S, I decided I need to live in a small town or a village, not a city. I hope to find in the U.S other modern dance companies that are placed in towns similar to the Dance Village.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My Early Dance Career

During my childhood I was a social outcast.
My glasses looked like the bottoms of two coke bottles, my freckles covered every inch of my face, and I was one of the smallest, scrawniest kids in my class. And worst of all- I was really bad in any kind of sport- baseball, basket ball, football, hockey etc'.
I tried to avoid gym classes, because the teachers and the kids would yell at me for being slow and clumsy. I was a weak child, afraid of the class bullies. I was the stereotype of the nerdy kid in the high school sitcoms.

Having trouble fitting in to my school's ideal of masculinity, I befriended mostly girls.
So when they started studying modern dance in the local community center, I joined them.
I was eight years old when I first attended a modern dance class. I was the only boy in the class, wearing a male's ballet uniform. It seemed natural to me, until the boys started calling me names such as "fagot".

My first years of adolescence were very tough. When I was about 16 years old, things started to change for me. I finally became taller and also muscular after years of dancing. "Popular" is not the right word to define what I became, since my class mates matured and stopped looking for popular guys to worship- but I was more confident, and girls started noticing me. I received more encouragements for my passion for modern dance. I was asked to demonstrate my dancing skills in our high school prom, and people started asking me if I'm intending to turn my passion in to a life-long career.

By the end of high school, when my friends were applying to various colleges in the U.S, I decided I want to study modern dance abroad. I spent months practicing on my auditions for modern dance troupes worldwide. I sent my dance clips and resumes to more than 30 modern dance schools, and got accepted to six. I chose to study modern dance in Israel and joined the KCDC dance troupe.

When I turned 18, two weeks before I was about to fly to Israel, I got in touch with my old modern dance teacher who taught me during childhood. She asked me to come over to her dance studio in the community center and tell her students what I'm doing now.
I went there, and as I told them I got accepted to an Israeli modern dance troupe, and felt so proud of myself!

When I was there, I noticed a third of her class were boys! I guess things have changed since I was a kid….

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Myths about Israelis

Last year I lived in Israel for eleven months, dancing with the KCDC dance troupe. During the year before that I did many auditions to modern dance schools abroad. I was accepted to a few modern dance programs, but I always had a longing to see the holy land, so I chose to study modern dance in Israel.
I chose the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, because its name appealed to my secret dream- to study in an Israeli Kibbutz.
Up to then I believed in some stereotypes regarding Kibbutz and Israeli society in general. After a year of living in Kibbutz Ga'aton I discovered that most of these stereotypes are exaggerated or out of date.
So for those who will be visiting Israel soon, here are some stereotypes that, as exotic as they are, are not true….
A. The Kaki pants and the brown sandals went out of style a very long time ago…
B. During my stay in Israel, which lasted a year, I've seen only one Israeli picking his nose - and he was four years old.
C. Most Kibbutz children nowadays live with their parents.
D. Israelis are not that rude. I survived many Israeli lines in bus stops, shopping centers and markets.
E. Israelis don't know how to dress- well, it's true. Sorry.

Although I discovered that most of these myths are not true, I did have a unique experience dancing with an Israeli modern dance troupe. I guess many others are now looking for this experience, since there were more than 400 people in Germany auditioning to KCDC dance troupe during their tour in Europe. I hope they will enjoy the same experience I had.