Backstage East / Sept 4, 2008
A4D RECOGNIZED FOR DANCE EDUCATION
The U.S. Local Business Association designated its 2008 AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN DANCE EDUCATION to Answers4dancers.com. "With our 10th anniversary coming up, we couldn't wish for a more timely acknowledgement," says Grover Dale, who launched this online training resource in 1999. "I share this award with an amazing team of pros, choreographers, and agents who continue supporting our programs that get dancers employed and keeps them working. Congrats to all!"
By Victoria Looseleaf
Someone whose work online translates into jobs for dancers, is Grover Dale. The original Snowboy in “West Side Story,” Dale went on to forge a career on the Great White Way as a performer, choreographer, and director.
But these days, when Dale is not giving workshops or filming dance around the world, he is occupied with Answers4dancers, a service website designed to help hoofer gain employment. Subtitled “Fastrack to Dance Employment,” the site is an outgrowth of a magazine Dale published for 12 years, Dance & Fitness.
Launched in 1999, the site was inspired, in part, by the Tony nominee’s early auditions.
“I was a green as they come when I got into “West Side Story,” but I started to pay attention to what was going on,” recalls Dale. “I learned that dancing is a business, and you need to market yourself, sell yourself, and you need to be able to do that without speaking. When you go to an audition, you need to convey enough signals to the choreographer that you are interesting to watch, that you can not only do their work but you’re the kind of person they’d enjoy spending eight hours a day with.”
In addition to posting information about 200 new auditions each month, Dale offers detailed advice from professional dancers and choreographers, all available for a monthly membership fee. In addition, his DanceBlast, a free weekly e-newsletter, reports on myriad tips and trends.
According to Dale, his site gets 100,000 visitors a month and he devotes as much as 50 hours a week to it. Divided into categories – such as auditions and jobs, tips and secrets, tools and training, and success stories –Answers4dancers is loaded with videos of rehearsals and performances, reader comments and topics that include “Beyonce Audition Dish.”
New Jersey-based Emily Dann, 19, recently returned from Athens, where she was on the hit TV show “So You Think You Can Dance.” Her sojourn lasted four months and was the direct result of an audition she found on Answers4dancers.
“I heard about the site from another dancer and joined last year,” says Dann, who with her partner was among the last eight couples on the show before getting the boot. “Answers4dancers is awesome. It gives so many people opportunities, and without it I wouldn’t be going on three to four auditions a week.”
"Grover, I'll never forget the words you said 20 years ago as you taught me the first dance in "West Side Story." You said, "This is your territory, you own it. Show that guy over there that he's deadmeat if he even thinks about entering it," You gave us something to act. You connected us into what we were dancing about. You stretched us and we became better dancers because of it."
- Rob Marshall, director of the Oscar-winning film "Chicago"
CHANGING LIVES THROUGH DANCE
“I found answers4dancers three days ago. I've learned more about dance careers in three days than I've learned my whole life time..." Nancy J., Birmingham, AL (member)
“Answers4dancers offers more career guidance than my daughter got in four years of college...” Charles W. - San Diego, CA (parent of member)“Grover... you rock! You are performing a wonderful service for the youth of America...” Lea Wolf, Dance Magazine
“Answers4dancers keeps me on top of my game. It tells me what's going on and which jobs are happening..." Stephanie Moseley, 20, ( member) back-up dancer to Janet Jackson, Britney Spears, J-Lo.