Watch my Elevator Pitch! #video
As an artist, I need to have multiple skills mastered and in my back pocket. Otherwise, someone else may get the job before me. Here is a list of skills I need as an artist, why I need them, and where I can get them.
- Obviously, I need to work on my dancing skills. That one is a given. I need to constantly improve my abilities and become a better dancer everyday, for there are always dancers who will be better than me and a choreographer may choose someone else based on my skills. I can improve this skill by continuing my education at SMU, and by taking classes outside of the University.
- Business Skills: I need to be able to run a business if I want to open up a studio or start a company. Plus, there are many times when I may need to negotiate with someone about business matters, and I need to know what to say and how to negotiate in a way that is beneficial to me. I can improve this skill by taking business courses here at SMU.
-Entrepreneurship Skills: I need to be able to sell my self to choreographers and investors. If I want to have a job, I have to fight for one. Again, I can improve this skill by taking Arts Entrepreneurship courses at SMU.
-Financial Skills: I need to be able to keep track of my income. Dancers don’t always earn enough money and so I need to keep of track of my spending and my income. I can improve this skill by having experience with it and/or taking courses at SMU.
There are many other skills that I need to improve on if I want to be successful as an artist. I just need to be able to improve them before my career begins. Thanks for reading!
Here is me fooling around in one of the studios at SMU!
Hi there! My name is Reid Conlon, and I want to make you feel something. I am a dancer and aspiring choreographer looking for my opportunity to make an audience feel emotions. Whether it be through laughter, sadness, seriousness, or even shock, my job as the choreographer is to leave a lasting impression. If I only touch one member of the audience, then I did my job right. Not only do I want to make a connection with the audience, but I want to present pieces that are pleasing to the eye. Otherwise, I should pursue another career option. Help me move audiences across the globe. May I have your card so that I may send you free tickets to some of my performances? And here is mine if you’d like to contact me for any dance or choreographic needs.
Unfortunately in our world, there aren’t many things that we do just for the heck of it. There’s usually something that is pushing you or motivating you to do that task. Whether it’s to make money or to make you happy, all of our actions have motives. For me, my motivation in dance is that I want to get better. Just today I was thinking to myself, “Wow, I’m really not a good dancer.” As soon as I thought that, my self confidence dropped immensely. I’m realizing now that I should have never thought that in the first place. I know I am not the best dancer in the world, but I am also not the worst. I need to recognize that I have strengths and weaknesses and that somewhere out there, there will always be someone better than me. What I need to strive for is becoming more educated and fine tuning my craft so that maybe someday I’ll be looked at as someone with real talent. It sounds really depressing when I say that, but I’m just accepting the fact that I have a lot of room to grow and become a better dancer.
Another strong motivator for me is something I touched on in my blog about my values. I am much more motivated when I feel happy than when I am uncomfortable. If a particular song or style makes me feel good and makes me want to dance, I’ll be much more motivated and happy to dance than if I am uncomfortable. Also, if I am choreographing a piece that is going to be seen in front of an audience, I will be motivated to make the piece look good. The same goes for if I am performing a piece in front of an audience. I want to look good and impress people, which is what motivates me to perform at my best.
What do I value most? Being happy. I’m not going to waste my time doing something that isn’t making me happy. I value my education for it will make me a better dance, which will make me happy. Along the lines of education, I value a teacher who is kind and supportive of me and will try to help me become better than what I am. I don’t want to take a class where the teacher doesn’t look at me or doesn’t give me critiques. But in retrospect, I don’t want to take a class where all I do is get praised for my accomplishments. If I can do a step or combination well, then I’d like to move on and find something that I need to work on so I can challenge myself. And once I accomplish the challenging step, then I need to find another challenging step. The cycle will always continue because there is no way I’ll be perfect at every movement and every style in dance. I’m not saying that I don’t value getting compliments on my hard work and abilities, but if I’m not being challenged anymore then what is the point in taking the class?
Unfortunately, I am driven by my competition. If I see another male dancer who is better than me, I get jealous. It’s a flaw that I am constantly working on. I need to work on the skills that will make me a better dancer, and no focus on the guy who can do nine pirouettes and end on a dime in relevé then proceed to do a triple tour en l’air. I need to work up to getting to that point, which takes a lot of hard work and dedication. So my solution to my competitive attitude is to channel that jealous and turn it into practicing more and learning as much as I possibly can so that maybe I’ll be able to do nine pirouettes.
My work habits are relatively normal when compared to other dancers of my generation. However, my habits tend to change with each class I am taking. Whenever I am in a ballet or modern class, I tend to shut myself out from the rest of the world and focus solely on my teacher and myself. I do this so I can learn as much as I possibly can. My face usually has a look of great concentration on it, due to the fact that I have to work harder in a ballet or modern class because it does not come as naturally to me as other subjects. Rarely do I speak, and on occasion I will look at my fellow classmates to possibly pick out something I like that they are doing, in hopes that it will make me better.
On the contrary, when I am taking a jazz class my whole demeanor changes to one of excitement and happiness. Jazz is the style I am most comfortable with and the one I enjoying performing the most. In jazz classes, I am usually quite talkative because I am excited about each combination or phrase we are working on. I smile, I laugh, and I have fun.
When it comes to choreographing, I enjoy being in alone in a large room. I put the song that I am choreographing to on repeat and just let it play over and over while I improv to it. When I find movement that I like, I repeat multiple times so that I do not forget it. If the room I am in has a garage door, I love turning the lights off, opening the garage door, and letting the sun pour in and illuminate the room in a new way. I listen to the lyrics of the song and try to make associations through movement to those lyrics, without making the movement too cliché. Once I feel that I have reached a point where the choreography no longer flows easily out of me, I stop. I don’t want to frustrate myself to the point where I don’t like what I am doing. After a few days of a mental break, I’ll return to the same room and continue my creative process. I also find it helpful to perform my work at whatever stage of choreography I am at, in front of an audience because I tend to figure out what the strong and weak points are in the choreography when it is performed to its fullest.
My parents have constantly told me that I was a dancer before they even put me in class. I used to dance in my diapers to the hits of the nineties and would jump around the house, wiggling my baby fat. My parents finally put me in dance classes when I was six years old. I guess you could have called me a star pupil, because I was one of the only students in the class that knew the dance completely and performed it with the biggest smile. For the next few years, I had the loudest personality when I was performing onstage. It made me feel incredibly happy to be dancing in front of an audience with them clapping and cheering while I was dancing. It was the support of those around me that made me want to make dance my career. The mom’s and dad’s from my studio would tell me all the time how much they enjoyed watching me perform. I heard the same comments from my relatives, my parents, my friends, and even complete strangers. If all of these people enjoyed watching me dance, then why would I ever stop? I asked myself this question when I was about 12 years old. Since then, I’ve devoted my time and energy to perfecting my craft and making myself more of an artist. Along the way, I studied with many different companies (i.e Joffrey NY & Chicago, DMA, Complexions, NYCDA) and choreographers. I took what I learned from those companies and choreographers, and applied it to my artistic ability. I want to become the best that I can be, and the only way I can do that is to continue to learn from those dancers around me. And that is how I ended up at Southern Methodist University. I am eager to learn from the professors here at the university, because I know how much experience they have and how successful the Dance Division’s Alumni have been. They’re going to help me answer a very important question for my career: What is my calling? Right now, all I want to do is dance and learn. However, if I want a successful career, I need to consider finding my calling. Whether that may be teaching, choreographing, back-up dancing, broadway, or not being involved at all, I’m hoping that college can aid me in choosing the path that is right for me.