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Book details
  • SubGenre:Dance / General
  • Language:English
  • Series title:Pocket Guide for Dancers
  • Series Number:1
  • Pages:198
  • Format:Paperback
  • eBook ISBN:9781543915815

Pocket Guide for Dancers

by Taira Foo

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My decision to write this book was based on meeting so many dancers not knowing of where to go next having completed their training, dancers who became lost on their journey and needed direction. So I thought I could put together a small information book that could help guide them. This book is intended to be a motivational one; I explore how to view rejection in another way, how to build up resilience to those never ending 'no's' and how to use those familiar words as a powerful tool to succeed. I was told many times that I was too old, the industry was too competitive, however, I have total belief that if one really wants to do something, there is always a way - always a new path to follow - and if a dancer is committed enough, understands the industry 'ropes' and uses a positive mind-set, then it's just a matter of time until success will follow. Having had little guidance and finding my own way into the industry, I had a clear vision and belief that this book could help so many dancers, it is a book I would have appreciated when I was auditioning. Whether you are just embarking upon a new career, feeling stuck, lost or needing motivation and a bit of guidance from someone with 20 years' experience in the industry, who has also been there. Using this guide will hopefully take dancers forward to securing those auditions and jobs. This guide offers information about where to look for auditions, agents, where to take class, how to build rapport with future employers, and many more aspects of the dance industry, that will help give some valuable guidance. Dance is such a wonderful business and, if we just take the time to do a little work on ourselves and view things differently, a dance career can be one that will last as long as you would like it to.

Pocket Guide for Dancers, an eBook and printed book by UK dancer and choreographer, Taira Foo,  Using my experience in the industry of almost two decades, I delve into all the subjects I wished someone had guided me on when I started out in the dance industry as a teenager.

From building one’s image in an era where so much is digital, Pocket Guide for Dancers takes its readers, on a journey that covers online marketing; how to make connections; preparing for auditions; to handling rejection, in a way that is beneficial to one’s health and self-esteem.

A lot of research went into the pocket guide, my first book, as I wanted to put as much information at the tips of each dancer.

“Whilst dance is an exciting career that brings joy to its diverse audiences, it is not an industry where every dancer’s career trajectory is clearly outlined like other careers such as medicine, law, and so on. There aren’t many guides for our industry out there. My career journey taught me so much, which allowed me to stress less about the direction of my career, and I wanted to share that knowledge with other dancers. The resources that I never knew existed, I have included as much as possible in this guide.”

Containing a number of links for resources through each chapter and further reading material at the end, the guide’s eleven chapters are written in a simple and easy to understand way. I also brings personal experiences into the guide.

About the author
Taira was brought up in Derby, England where the dance scene was somewhat limited. At the age of 17 she decided that she wanted to be a dancer and so began training. To say this was a late start for this industry is an understatement as her 1st training class was shared with seven year olds just starting out on their journeys too! Taira's teacher was Eve Leveaux and it is to her Taira believes she owes her career as well as to her parents who supported her all of the way and spent many hours driving her to and from auditions and eventually shows. Taira's story is one of belief, passion and determination leading her eventually to grace the floors of the west end in London, UK TV, perform with the days superstars and on two occasions for Her Majesty the Queen. With time past she can now look back with pride at many achievements. In a dance career spanning over ten years she performed in the original cast of we will rock you at The Dominion Theater, Chicago, The Balbeck festival – Beirut, Cha Cha in Grease, Ensemble Fame, The snowman playing the part of the Cat ( The Peacock theater, The Royal Variety show ( Dominion Theater ) , Queens jubilee ( Buckingham Palace), Party in the Park (Hyde Park ) & Michael Parkinson ITV. Today she can add, teaching, chorography and authorship to her impressive list of achievements. Having started so late, her path was a little different to most dancers. She spent a small amount of time at a conservatoire and then decided to stay in Derby to complete her training and travel up and down to London, (a 3 hour journey), exposing herself to other styles of dance. Her willing and eagerness to learn was apparent. Although she lacked experience she started to audition learning how to do so on the hop. This alone created some funny, cringe worthy, scary and exhilarating experiences. Taira soon discovered that there was little information or guidance on how to succeed. Most simply said it was a hard industry to get into with no assistance on how to overcome this with information on how to get 'in the mix'. Simple and obvious, now, advice such as such as jobs to help me survive while auditioning, where to look for auditions, agents and how to stay motivated was non-existent. Her constant desire and strong belief drove her to soak up everything about the industry and it was clear early on that this was the only path for her to follow. She quickly (and quietly) learnt the ins and outs of this business. However, what she really lacked was time and guidance, she needed a book like "Pocket Guide for Dancers" to save time money and accelerate the journey. Having reflected on her struggle she decided to pen a few ideas to help those facing similar challenges today. This was the birth of "Pocket Guide for Dancers" that would ensure young dancers would have access to a mass of information to help them at every stage of their career and for this information to be in one place – one handy little survival guide. In teaching she witnessed many students not knowing where to go and what to do after their training; many dancers give up on their dream far too soon because of knock backs from the industry and the fear of the unknown. The guide addresses these issues and offers hope and motivation to help dancers through those dark days - days of feeling alone, isolated and almost ready to give up. Taira's choreography work has extended her involvement in the dance industry and amongst other work she created two critically praised half-hour showcase works recently - both playing as part of The Place Resolution! Festival. The first entitled "Soloist" The second was an adaptation of the Academy Award winning "Rainman". The chosen narratives, both of which had successful film versions, demonstrated Taira's ambition and ability to create contemporary narrative dance works that captivate modern audiences. As well as numerous shorter pieces, Taira has also choreographed a short dance film which premiered in the San Fransisco Dance Film Festival and then the Dance on Camera festival in New York. Industry reviews have described her work as "explosive", "gripping" & "intensely moving". Taira has also choreographed numerous pantomimes and today still enjoys this work. Taira's Hinged Dance Co, with support from Arts Council England, brought together professional dancers, musicians and theatre practitioners together with new talent from the OC London community in Kings Cross, to create Prisoner 466, a new contemporary dance work about Mandela's 27 year imprisonment and the international anti-apartheid campaign his imprisonment inspired. The future is set to help others achieve their aims and to author more books to help in this regard. That's not to say the dance shoes have been put in the bottom draw, not so fast! Taira is still physically able to dance her students beyond their known limits, both physically and creatively and this she finds highly rewarding.
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