How did you get your first paid performance? Did you seek it out, someone approached you, etc?
This is a great question! I don’t actually remember my VERY first paid performance gig. When I first started hooping I was mostly selling hoops and teaching others how to hoop, but over time, being at various festivals to vend, people began asking me if I did performance as well. I also pretty much hooped EVERYWHERE I went… night clubs, the beach, parties, etc. It was one of those things that just built organically on it’s own.
I met my contact for Cirque du Soleil because I took my hoop into a little night club in Santa Monica and was just hooping on the dance floor. Eventually I did get an agent, but honestly I built a bigger network and got more work by just being visible and talking to new people. Word of mouth is a powerful force! This can take a while though, so if you are looking to begin performing, you can help fast track this by doing a few things:
1. Make a quality demo of approximately a minute or so in length. Short and sweet is best. Be sure there is good lighting and you are well put together with a professional looking costume and makeup.
2. Get business cards made up. *Tip – make sure they are un-coated on one side so they can be written on!
3. Write a powerful bio. There are many resources online on how to do this. Get a friend to help you if you have a hard time talking yourself up!
4. Get some professional photos done – both action, still and head shots.
5. Put all this together and search online for event companies and talent agencies to send your package to. Have some packages all together as well and handy so if you do randomly meet someone that would like to hire you, you can get one to them ASAP.
6. Get a website and Facebook page. You can keep it simple and just have your demo, bio and photos on there. This will tell your prospective clients that you are serious and professional.
7. Always follow up with someone you meet within 24 hours while they are fresh in your mind and you are fresh in theirs. Return any communications as soon as possible. Being reliable and on top of things goes a long way!
Doing the above, combined with just being out there where people can see you and talk to you, will get you on the road to building your own network of clients to perform for! Be easy to work with (ie don’t be a diva!) and you will likely be called again and again for gigs!
Good luck and happy hooping!
Anah “Hoopalicious” Reichenbach has traveled the world teaching and performing. Highly regarded as the founder of the modern hoop dance movement, her Hoop Revolution™ curriculum is the foundation for most well-known hoop dance curriculums out there today. Anah appears in The Hooping Life documentary and was our first inductee into the Hooper Hall of Fame. She lives in Los Angeles, California, USA.