Introduction: The Artist's Grind

Thanks for visiting my website!

My name is Belle and I'm a Dancer, Choreographer, and Teaching Artist based in Philadelphia. 

Photo: Brian Mengini

Photo: Brian Mengini

Anyone who has trained professionally knows that once you’re done with your degree or conservatory it’s up to you to decide where your art takes you. One you hone your skills and earn your credentials, you stumble into becoming your own small business, steering your own schedule, and in a lot of cases, self producing. Yikes!

We dedicate ourselves to years of practice and then we have to rediscover routine and habit in our managerial capacity. Dancers, actors, musicians, and visual artists know exactly the sort of existential crisis I’m talking about.

This blog is dedicated to my own journey in learning as I go and the questions (and feels) that come up when you’re putting your artistic mission into practice. My goal is to encourage best practices for other emerging artists. I’m sharing my story in the hope that it inspires others to thrive, practice, and create in a sustainable way-I’m looking for longevity out of my artistic pursuits and I know a lot of you are, too.

I graduated with BFA in Dance almost two years ago and one of the bestthings I’ve been able to do for myself is commit to ongoing professional development.

This takes shape in many different forms:

  1. Free workshops and master classes in your community

    •  Sign up for mailing lists and subscribe to listservs to stay in the loop! Connect with local artists on social media and look for event invitations and auditions.
  2. Paid workshops offered by local companies

    • Not only do they maintain and improve your craft, they also provide networking opportunities.
    • Where is your local metropolis? I’m fortunate to be a short bus ride away from NYC and Washington, DC where some of the country’s top companies and arts venues are based. Make sure to write off your travel receipts on your taxes (the tax post is coming later).
  3. Candid conversations with peers

    • Keep creating. Keep creating with your friends. The questions you have on your mind are likely on theirs as well! Support each other. Show up for their projects and involve them in yours (the competition mentality is a little old skool and at times unrealistic for me).
  4. Candid conversations with mentors/older artists

    • Find someone you admire who’s work and experiences align with your values. Email them, let them know what you have questions/thoughts/ideas about, take them out for coffee, connect, learn, respond, repeat. The perspective of someone 5-10+ years ahead of you can be so refreshing!

As I said, I’m learning as I go and we’re in this creative pursuit together. For youth artists, I hope this offers insight in your pre-professional careers.

Where are you based and what is a current project that you’re excited about? Do you have 2-5 jobs, 5-10, or 11+?

dancing joyfully,

Belle