If you want to be a true triple threat, you take your dance classes, voice lessons and acting seminars. But now, there’s a company offering the most specific, exclusive and personal training for the pre-professional and professional dancer. Stage Door Connections (SDC), founded in 2010, is an industry leading career development company based in New York City. SDC provides services and tools to vocalists, actors and dancers, so that they may find castings, connect with creatives, expand repertoire and technique, ace auditions, and have successful careers in the business of show. Whether you’re a musical theater dancer working to improve your singing, a commercial dancer hoping to land an agent, or any dancer looking to expand his or her horizons, look no further than SDC.
“We recognize that being a successful performer goes beyond having a good audition,” expresses Rachel Bress, who co-founded SDC with Ryan Saab. “We are dedicated to developing the most innovative tools and providing essential information and industry connections that will take our clients beyond landing the job. Few performers have long-lasting success in the industry because most don’t understand the ‘business’ side of the industry. We are committed to changing that.”
Dance Informa sat down with performers-turned-entrepreneurs/co-founders, Bress and Saab, to learn more about SDC.
What is the mission of Stage Door Connections?
“Stage Door Connections was created to help pre-professional and professional dancers further their careers by offering them innovative online tools, like the Nationwide Audition Calendar, SDC Casting Profiles, and Resume Builder, which helps dancers from all over the country be more prepared for auditions. We also are one of the only professional seminar companies specifically dedicated to connecting professional dancers in NYC to the creative teams through audition technique seminars. Our faculty consists of Tony and Emmy award-winning directors and choreographers, commercial dance choreographers, artistic directors of major dance companies, casting directors, talent agents and some of the biggest producers in the industry.”
What kinds of master classes and workshops does SDC offer?
“We offer a wide array of classes for professional performers, including Dance Audition Technique Seminars, Musical Theatre Vocal Audition Technique Seminars, Dance Connections, Commercial Dance Intensives, Corporate Entertainment Seminars, ‘Instant Callback’ Seminars, The Tap Audition Technique Series, The Dancer’s Voice Series, Casting Director and Talent Agent Dance Connections, New York Theatre Dance Intensives, and, our most recent launch, our free ‘Happy Hour’ Seminars.”
Who teaches the Broadway master classes?
“Members of the actual creative teams teach classes. These include Broadway choreographers, associate choreographers, directors, musical directors, casting directors and agents, depending on the class. Once a show is open, we often also include the resident choreographer or dance captain of the show in our faculty.”
What is taught at these classes?
“Dance Audition Technique: We created these two-hour seminars to give dancers a safe environment to learn from working choreographers how to best present themselves in an audition. A lot of times, dancers walking into an audition room, dance, either get cut or kept, but never receive any feedback or the ability to learn from their performance. These seminars give dancers the chance to hear what the people behind the table don’t have the ability to say in an audition setting.
Musical Theatre Vocal Audition Technique: A three-hour class where participants have the opportunity to present two songs in the style of their choosing. Students would then receive feedback/coaching from a casting director on how to best present their song in an audition environment. We have found this class to be extremely helpful to participants because they learn not only from singing themselves but also from hearing the feedback given to others and watching others implement corrections. We limit these classes to 12-15 people.
Dance Connection: Two-hour classes that give dancers a safe environment to learn from industry professionals — in this case, an agent and choreographer — how to best present themselves in any audition while also giving faculty the opportunity to meet and interact with NYC talent outside of the audition room.
Commercial Dance Intensive: Offers participants a rare opportunity to learn from and dance for a commercial dance agent and commercial choreographer. Students will learn what they look for when searching for dancers to sign and hire.
Corporate Entertainment: Corporate and special events are great ways to supplement your income as a dancer. Whether you are auditioning, or on a Broadway contract, every dancer in the city can benefit from the flexible schedule and the income corporate entertainment jobs can provide. In this seminar, you will learn about the corporate entertainment industry and be introduced to one of the companies that hires for such events.
‘Instant Callback’: This intimate seminar gives participants the opportunity to showcase their dance/movement and vocal auditions and receive feedback and coaching without the fear of getting cut. Regional theater, Off-Broadway and Broadway auditions alike are calling for not just strong dancers but very strong singers, and this seminar allows participants to work on both!
Tap Audition Technique Series: A rare opportunity to practice your tap audition skills in a relaxed and supportive learning environment. This four-class series will leave you ready to approach your next tap audition with confidence.
Dancers Voice Series: A six-week workshop focusing on every aspect of a dancer’s vocal audition and stemming from the biggest complaint we hear from dancers: ‘My audition was going great…and then I had to sing.’
CDTA: A day full of learning and receiving feedback from panels of choreographers, casting directors and agents.
Free Happy Hour: We created these one-hour, monthly meet-ups as a way to thank our subscribers and offer them fun, informational tidbits. In the past, subject matter for these meet-ups have included: budgeting, goal setting, proper social media use, the ‘business’ of Broadway and more.”
Does attending these classes help dancers at the audition? How?
“Yes, very much so. These workshops remove the wall between the choreographer and dancer that you would normally encounter in an audition. They allow the choreographer/casting to see the dancers outside of an audition environment — no judgment, just class. This, in turn, gives the student the opportunity to show at his/her best without the pressure of an audition environment. We’re the only company to offer this type of set-up for our over 6,000 professional dancer clientele. We have heard hundreds of success stories where a dancer who took a seminar and either got invited to the dance call or booked the job. It’s a win-win-win for everyone involved!”
By Mary Callahan of Dance Informa.
Photo (top): A Stage Door Connections audition. Photo courtesy of Stage Door Connections.