Case study

Freelance dance artist — Daniel Phung

Daniel enjoys the freedom of working as a freelance dancer. He believes confidence and a willingness to try new things will prove useful when breaking into the industry

How did you get your job?

I graduated with a BA Hons Dance from Leeds Beckett University and now work as a freelance dance artist for different independent dance companies.

Before applying for jobs I had to gain more experience in working for professional companies and so I attended technique classes, watched shows and spoke to established dance artists to get advice and tips.

Going for auditions and networking are the two main ways of getting a dance job. Although different ways of getting into the industry, both usually require a showreel, CV, covering letter, s and emails, and you must be able to show what you have to offer the company.

How relevant is your degree to your job?

It is incredibly relevant, particularly the knowledge I gained about being a professional.

My degree course was both broad and, at times, specific, but the most important thing I learnt was the openness and freeness of the arts, which I got from speaking with the lecturers.

What are your main work activities?

A typical working day consists of a 9am start, beginning with a one-and-a-half hour class consisting of technique/body conditioning (generally a body warm-up class). I then move on to either creating new work or rehearsal until 5pm, with a break for lunch. The cool down after the day's rehearsal usually takes around 30 minutes (stretches and any other conditioning I need).

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

My role is still developing as the title 'freelance dance artist' can cover many aspects of dance, from dancer to collaborator, or choreographer to dramaturge.

My current aims are to work for others, not just to support myself but also to learn from choreographers who may influence my practice, and to use these ideas to ultimately become a choreographer myself.

What do you enjoy about your job?

My favourite aspect about working as a freelance artist is collaborating and creating with others that I have close relationships with. It feels great to work towards something that you feel very precious and passionate about.

What are the most challenging parts of your job?

Accepting that 'no' isn't a definite denial and that it may just mean 'not now' or 'you're not suited for this specific role'.

Maintaining your motivation and commitment towards something that isn't always self-rewarding can also be a challenge.

Any words of advice for someone who wants to get into this job?

Be ready for knockbacks but aim to move forwards, be prepared to try something different, and be confident and ready to take opportunities when they arise. But above all, remember the reason you chose to do this.

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