I am asked more often than not, "is it important who you know?" and my answer is always an easy one.
After the shock on their faces settles in, I follow up with,
"Who you know can get you in the room, what you do, can keep you there... or not."
Making a good impression throughout your training, pick-up projects and gigs, and your time in professional companies is essential.
Kindness really does go a long way. More often than not, kindness surpasses technique and ability. Work ethic, how one handles disagreements, relationships with coworkers and cast members, are the first questions choreographers and directors ask when checking up on your resume. Trust me, a burned bridge can not often be rebuilt.
So how do you make sure that you maintain a good relationship with many at work? I believe you have to be honest with yourself when dealing with others.
Are you on time? What about consistency with your work? Could you walk away from a confrontation? Are your criticisms shared with respect for those who may have offended you? Are you quick to try to resolve a disagreement?
I believe it is truly important to be yourself. Do not try to make people happy for the sake of looking good to your coworkers, cast-mates, teachers, directors, or employers. Be honest with everyone, be true to yourself, but make sure your honesty and truth start within your own heart. Judge yourself first, then judge the situation before diving in to judge others.
This is an effective way to keep peace, show respect, and honor the environment you are in.
I realize what I am suggesting is not at all easy. In fact, it is one the most difficult lessons I have had to learn, but I promise you it will be worth it.
This is only the beginning, a corner of the understanding I have gained from the many life and dance educators I have been blessed to meet, learn from, and study with.