If you follow Ms. Gracen on Instagram, you may have noticed studios and dancers around the U.S. are vying for her attention. We asked her to share what this means for Charleston Dance Center and how our dancers can replicate her success. Here’s what she said.
Being involved in different dance communities is really important.
In my youth, I worked for an entertainment group which just recently cast me for The Righteous Gemstones on HBO – I danced in season two.
My entrance into convention teaching was (and still is) a big shock. I was an assistant during Intrigue Dance Intensive’s 2020-21 season which offered me the chance to teach my own class at nationals, gave me several mentors in the industry, and helped me build somewhat of a name within the company. The next regional season I was asked to teach one class, which has led to several more this season. Now I regularly teach at Intrigue’s micro-conventions that are hosted by studios.
Sharing my work with a larger audience has allowed me to make more connections. Having mentorships with working professionals has also helped me get recommendations. It all boils down to putting yourself out there and building connections. The more people are exposed to your work, the more opportunities you will get. That is why social media has become so important for freelancers. I booked one job simply because a studio director stumbled upon my Instagram. My advice for anyone looking to choreograph is to find a company or group that interests you, do your research, get involved, and build relationships with likeminded people. These are the same people that will pull for you in the future.
Through these opportunities I have gained experience, knowledge, inspiration, and a deeper passion for choreographing. I don’t always get the luxury of spending months to create like I do at CDC, so setting work in just a few hours has pushed me to make choices and commit quicker. Since doing this my work has felt more intentional and true to myself.
Through the opportunities I have been given I have learned that having confidence in yourself leads to trust from others.– Gracen Nelson
These opportunities take me out of town often, however the inspiration and knowledge I gain helps me to be at my best for dancers here. I like to share things that I learn in my time away with them, so we can grow together.