I already wrote about the topic “how to get more dance jobs.” I got some feedback on this article, especially that the stuff in there does not work, and some new requests about how to do it in Austria.
What is different in Austria?
That is the question we have to answer before diving into the specifics. All the points from the general article I already wrote apply to the fullest, but it can feel like you don’t get any results by applying them. The main reason is that the business side of the scene and the Austrian dance industry are still in their build-up. What I mean by that is that there are people producing shows, there are agencies taking care of bookings for urban artists, and there are dance studios in most major cities, but there are not plenty of them.
In countries with a developed dance industry, you have the possibility to audition for jobs that you want to be part of every other week. You have multiple standing companies with a regular cast and stand-ins for most positions. You have multiple people that take care of the production side of things. And you have many agencies with a widespread network that generates opportunities to show your art.
In Austria and many other countries with a dance scene that is on the rise, we have some of these but don’t have an abundance. So you maybe have four to ten auditions per year for pieces you want to do. There are 2 or 3 agencies that seriously care and know about the capabilities and needs of hip-hop dance. And there might be five promoters who manage to do recurring events with international relevance.
Austria has a dance scene and dance industry on the rise. We need to build the infrastructure first to create the jobs we want to do. Nobody will give them to us. Who should?
That sounds like a bad thing in the first place, but it really isn’t. Because what it does, is leave a lot of space for everyone who cares and wants to make it with dance and dance-related work.
How to do it?
First, this is not science. Second, I am writing from my own experience of doing business with dance and dance-related topics since 2007. Third, I believe this is the best way forward for the Austrian scene as a whole. Some individual people might be better off alone, but looking at the bigger picture from a holistic point of view, these are my recommendations.
As mentioned above, our scene and industry are not yet fully established, we are building it right now. This means that there is a lot of space to be filled.
What we should do, is create the infrastructure that we lack. This also ensures that the infrastructure and businesses hold up the values that we want to represent. That is extra important as the possibility of breaking (that’s the thing you should not call breakdance) becoming Olympic will attract people from outside (sports, finance, and advertisers of all kinds) who have the business part down towards our scene and their values will not necessarily align with ours.
What can a single person do?
Everything. That is the point. Through the scarcity in the scene, you can contribute very quickly.
You can organize classes yourself. Everything you need it to find is a room and a mobile sound system. I know people who teach twenty classes a week and are set. All self-sustained.
You can organize events. It’s not impossible to do jams and competitions on a low budget. In fact, we need those to have the inhibition threshold low for the new blood.
You can reach out to potential customers proactively and sell your shows. By doing this you fill the role of an artist agency and might become one if you want to.
You can audition for all pieces around and try to land that spot or you can start your own production. This feels overwhelming in the beginning but if you want to create, you should.
How is this getting more jobs?
The part above isn’t, but it is a prerequisite for our scene to grow and move forward into something that can provide a sustainable life for everyone who wants it. From there we need to start connecting and work together (I already wrote about that too).
By creating multiple working platforms (this can be crews, dance companies, production companies, agencies, artist collectives, solo freelancers and more) and connecting them, we can provide more work. If I sell shows, you produce pieces, and a third guy organizes workshops, we can hustle on our own or connect, and everyone has three jobs instead of one.
Of course, that is simplified as nobody can work with everyone, and some people are more suited for this job and not the other. But take into consideration how far our scene came in the last ten years. Think about how many talented people are out there hustling. We just need to connect and build together. In a country with a small scene, there is no competition as the market is not nearly saturated. There are only missed opportunities.
Don’t stop there
When we established a network that provides enough opportunities for everyone who wants to dance, the inclusion does not stop. Think about all the street fashion designers, dance content creators, music producers, MCs , DJs and so on. These are valuable for us, too, as we are to them. Spotting these opportunities and taking them is what we should cultivate.
It has been done before in Austria. On a smaller scale. And these islands still exist. Where people work together, but most of the time, they only extend to crew and friends. Which is fine, but we all could do better.
As this scene and industry are built now, it is we who should build it and make the rules. Or we can let others build it and play by their rules. Easy decision for me. It always has been.