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Thread: Portfolio?

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    Member Suhad's Avatar
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    Roll  Eyes Portfolio?

    I know Salome has written an article about the cover letter...but I am wondering what else goes into the portfolio?

    Photos, I would guess, but how many and of what type--only performance or studio or both? And previous gigs, and references -- how many and do you quote the reference or simply put a name and where they can be reached?

    Do you put your rates into the portfolio? What else would go into one?

    I know, I'm ridiculously untutored in this. Most of the dancers I know are in an area where BD is already a fixture, and they get jobs simply by word of mouth. I'm in an area where I would really like to introduce it -- there is a troupe of Tribal Style dancers but they don't really perform on a regular basis anywhere, and they do a lot of fundraising type of performances. I do more American Cabaret style and that's what I would like to promote in my area.

    And for a final question, how does one approach a venue regarding a performance there?? You probably can't tell from here but I'm actually dreadfullly shy and I'm scared to approach someone for fear they'll laugh at me!

    Thanks for your input!

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    V.I.P. Yasmine Bint Al Nubia's Avatar
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    Hi Suhad, Those are very good questions glad you asked. Paging Salome......
    Yasmine

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    Administrator Salome's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suhad View Post
    I know Salome has written an article about the cover letter...but I am wondering what else goes into the portfolio?

    Photos, I would guess, but how many and of what type--only performance or studio or both? And previous gigs, and references -- how many and do you quote the reference or simply put a name and where they can be reached?

    Do you put your rates into the portfolio? What else would go into one?

    And for a final question, how does one approach a venue regarding a performance there?? You probably can't tell from here but I'm actually dreadfullly shy and I'm scared to approach someone for fear they'll laugh at me!
    Hi Suhad,

    in answer to your questions... a promo pack should have a cover letter, a resume, a profile, a picture, a demo reel, a business card, and supporting documents - if you have any.

    As you mentioned I wrote an article about formatting a cover letter so that's available to read. Articles on how/what to write for profile and resume are coming soon.

    Photo's should not be an action shot of you performing, that's a no no. You want to have an 8x10 photo that shows you clearly and is full or 3/4 length.

    If you can't afford professional pictures do your best in creating professional quality pictures. If you are taking pictures at home do it on a digital camera and have someone capable with photoshop cut out the background. There is nothing more amateur looking than someone's promo picture of her posing in her living room or kitchen. Even if you take the picture in front of a blank wall or wood door... cut it.

    If you can afford it, two pictures showing two different moods/costumes is great. However one quality picture is all that is expected in a promo package.

    The profile tells the client about your life in dance. See my about
    Salome page to get an idea of what I mean. Though that page is written for other dancers as my audience not particularly for clients. You basically want to tell the client about your dance journey and write it in light of how your history has honed and prepared you to do XYZ - whatever it is you are looking to be hired for. If you have an agent or even work for a telegram type company - include that. No more than one page, make it
    an easy read.

    One mistake a lot of people make is writing it in the third person and waxing poetically about what a beautiful/mesmerizing/incredible dancer she is. It doesn't mean anything when you write it. But it does mean something when it's a past client, student, audience member (in that order). If you can gather some testimonials and work it into the profile that goes a lot farther in selling you.

    The resume should be formatted more or less as it would be for a
    'straight' job. But just as you did for the profile, write the resume
    with your audience in mind. If you want to be sponsored to teach a
    workshop by another dancer you would want to include your education and training and experience as a teacher. However if you are looking to be the house dancer for a nightclub, the owner is not going to necessarily care or know the 'names' you've trained with or a lot of employment history as a teacher. Better to put how long you've studied and what you are capable of in language a non dancer will understand. You can include under a "other skills" category - teacher or choreography or other talents you have that could be applicable. Also don't put every last job you've ever done on your resume, unless you have not done a lot yet. If you want to be hired to perform at an art festival choose to high light past jobs that demonstrates your experience in that area. Like the profile keep the resume to one page.

    I provide references upon request but not in my resume. I also don't
    put rates in my promo pack. My salary and my fee are different.
    And how much I charge depends on how many sets I perform in a
    night, how long each set is, how far I have to travel, how many
    costume changes, how many days off I get etc. So that all gets
    negotiated later.

    If you have any supporting documents, like newspaper articles,
    reviews, any media, certificates, awards etc. photocopy and include in your pack. These types of outside sources substantiate that you are a desirable and employable entity.

    Your demo reel should be at least 5 minutes but under ten, unless the client has specifically asked for longer footage. It should show you at your best demonstrating your repertoire, with different costumes etc. It is highly preferable that the footage is in front of a live audience. Clients want to see how you will perform for an audience.

    Hope that helps and I am open to more questions...
    Last edited by Salome; 01-16-2007 at 08:47 PM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Gia al Qamar's Avatar
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    Salome,
    Wonderful ideas for promo kits! I am curious why you suggest that no 'action' or live shots of a dancer performing should be included? I have always included these kinds of photos in addition to studio shots and am eager to hear why you'd suggest leaving them out?
    Gia

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    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Promotional materials

    Dear Suhad,
    The only thing that I would add to Salome's info is that all of this must be a succinct and have as few pages as possible, because the people who are interested in hiring you do not want to read a novel. Your info should be clean, to the point and not overly flowery or self-congratulatory. Keep it streamlined and keep it factual and honest.
    Regards,
    A'isha

  6. #6
    Administrator Salome's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gia al Qamar View Post
    Salome,
    Wonderful ideas for promo kits! I am curious why you suggest that no 'action' or live shots of a dancer performing should be included? I have always included these kinds of photos in addition to studio shots and am eager to hear why you'd suggest leaving them out?
    Gia
    Hi Gia,

    hmmm maybe I should have phrased that differently. What I meant was that providing a snapshot as the sole picture in your promo pack is a "no no". As you know, being a pro dancer, the promotional picture you provide is often used by the client to create posters, releases to the newspapers and create other advertisments so it needs to be a clean, high dpi, studio quality picture that shows the dancer well and in detail without a busy background. Plus the client needs to see the dancer 'up close and personal' in a picutre when they are evaluating you. Sometimes you can get a really artful or wonderful action shot but they don't always show your face or body as closley as needed. Perhaps I should have said action shots ok in addition to a good 8x10 photo

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    Member Suhad's Avatar
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    Thank you so much for your reply!!

    It's such an unknown territory as an "entertainer" versus my regular job. I believe professional standards are the same no matter what, but how to project that image and how to go about gaining employment are new things for me.

    I'll keep you all posted -- I was going to buy a domain name to have a website for that sort of stuff but my chosen dance name is an arabic porn site!!

  8. #8
    Senior Member Gia al Qamar's Avatar
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    Gotcha Salome! I thought that, perhaps, I was committing some faux pas by including both action shots and studio shots as well! Glad to know!!
    Gia

  9. #9
    Administrator Salome's Avatar
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    No ma'am, no faux pas there

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