Kevin Sateri has appeared on stage, on screen, and on television as a professional dancer.
Having been in the professional dance world for many years, Kevin Sateri has had a diverse career so far that includes touring with "Experience Canada: Spirit of a Nation", dancing in various music videos and shows like "Beverly Hills 90210", "Hellcats", to name a few. Kevin has also worked on films with Canadian choreographer Paul Becker and most recently, danced as Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz's double on the Jimmy Kimmel Live Oscar special "Movie: The Movie" (5:34 mark).
These experiences as a working dancer have given him insight into what it takes to have longevity in this business and how to keep going when things get slow.
The community of working dancers is a small, elite one. But there is always room for fresh faces to infuse energy and talent into new projects. You can be one of them!
When I first started working as a professional dancer, I auditioned for anything and everything, to be "seen" and try and book whatever job I could land. I would get cut right away on some auditions, make it to the end of others without getting it, and book jobs as well. It helped me to figure out what projects I was getting cast in, and which ones I was not right for, allowing me to target the ones I had a better shot at. Once I understood my "type", the success rate in my auditions increased dramatically.
When there are lulls in the amount of work you are getting in the business, it is easy to get discouraged and be in a negative space. It is important to have other interests and even other work to support you financially in between gigs. Being desperate for work in an audition is sensed by the choreographer, and there is a difference between wanting the job and desperately needing it to make ends meet. Keep yourself active and positive, spend time with friends, network, and keep yourself visible to choreographers by taking their class, etc.
Here are some breakdowns of what it takes to make it in this competitive industry:
Take class! Develop your technique and performance skills in class. Learn and take in everything that is being taught, and be open to new ideas. Search out teachers who inspire and challenge you to reach greater heights.
Study different styles of dance---- ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, specialty classes. Study acting and singing to increase your talent and demand as a performer. Study acrobatics and develop your special skills. The more you can offer, the more job opportunities there will be for you.
When you are ready, expose yourself to the audition experience. Nerves will come up and understanding how to perform under pressure will help you! Get an agent to represent you and get you into smaller audition calls. Be aware of the difference between "standing out" and "doing your own thing". Many working choreographers want you to do the choreography exactly as they demonstrate it, without adding anything extra to it. Research each project and choreographer online to see their style, work, and understand what you are auditioning for. With that being said, don't hold back! This is your shot at getting seen for the project. Don't leave the audition having regrets or wishing you had done something different. Leave, and let it go!
Once you work with choreographers and dance teachers, stay in touch with them. They can hire you over and over again. Don't harass them or annoy them, but take their classes if they teach. Send a friendly hello every now and then if you have a personal connection with them.
Your work ethic, dedication, and professionalism will be remembered, good or bad. How you conduct yourself on set and in rehearsal is one of the biggest factors in your "rehiring" and likeability. Be open to receiving notes and adjustments on your work. A likeable dancer is a working dancer. Many people get hired (or not) based on their previous reputation with others.
Now go out and book that next job! See you out there!