Here are the questions you should be asking and steps you should be taking towards making a successful dance reel!
And a 5, 6, 7, 8...
1. Commercial or Concert Dance? First, it is important to establish your identity as a dancer. What is your main genre of dance? Be clear!
2. Know Your Audience. Next, you should be asking yourself who is going to be watching your dance reel?
3. Have a Plan. Map out how your dance reel will be organized. It is common to have an introduction title that includes your name. If you are sending in an application that has specific requirements on what the potential employer wants to see in your dance reel, follow them! Write out your plan of attack and create a timeline for accomplishing your dance reel in between rehearsals and classes.
4. Costume is King. Just as you would in any audition or interview, it is vital to put thought behind what you will wear and how your makeup and hair will look. You want to look professional and well-represent your genre of dance.
5. Music that Moves. In most reels, it is nice to have just one solid piece of music overlaying your montage of performance clips. Don't just pick your favorite song on the radio! Think of the music as a soundtrack that appropriately supports your dancing. Make sure the music does not overpower or subtract from the choreography! If it is important to use the original music for excerpts of choreography, make sure the music nicely fades in and out. Be careful of copyrights! To be safe, here are a couple of great royalty free music sites: Vimeo and Free Music Archive.
6. Just Shoot Me. Find a videographer who owns an HD camera (preferably) and a tripod. If you can hire a professional, do it! I highly suggest you check out DancePlug who makes dance demo reels. They are great since they are dancers themselves and know what the industry is looking for. Plus, their prices are more than reasonable!
7. I Can Dance Forever. But, please don't! Remember, a reel should spark your potential employer's attention, not bore it with longevity. A little mystery never hurt anyone. Edits should be clean with captions placed where they can be easily read in the frame. If you are not comfortable using editing tools such as iMovie or Final Cut Pro, it may be a good idea to hire an editor.
8. Reely Dance. Once you have uploaded your reel to either YouTube or Vimeo, share the link on your website, social media platforms and include it in your nicely written email with resume attached to that future employer! To get more views on YouTube, consider joining DanceOn!
If you have more questions or want more advice ask away in the comment section! If you have more to add to my list, tell me what has worked great for you! I'd also be willing to give you feedback on your dance reel. Contact and send me your reel!