Read as Gina Starbuck talks about her career as a Dancer and Choreographer. Find her at www.ginastarbuck.com and on her Twitter feed in the sidebar of this interview.
What do you do for a living?
I’m a woman of many trades. Primarily, I am a dancer and choreographer, as well as a dance teacher. My teaching takes me literally all over the world! I also sing and write music, act, and have my own clothing line as well as a signature lipgloss. Lots… I know!
How would you describe what you do?
Well, all of the aspects of my work are different. But there is a common thread in that they are all things that I love and am very passionate about.
What does your work entail?
Always something different.
What’s a typical work week like?
There is nothing typical about what I do! Every day and week brings something new. Sometimes I spend a week on set for a TV show, sometimes, I’m having meetings, teaching class, recording music, working on designs… Generally I do travel on weekends to teach at dance conventions. I do about 20 cities a year.
How did you get started?
My whole life I have been creating and performing. My professional performance career began in my home town when I was 15 years old and has had ups and downs, but has been pretty much growing ever since! I took drama classes, dance, etc. when I was younger.
What do you like about what you do?
I love to create. I love being a source of inspiration to people all over the world. I enjoy that it’s always something different. Meeting new people is so great. And being able to work with people who are so gifted and learning all the time. It’s so cool to both inspire and be inspired simultaneously. I also love being able to use my voice to help others in need!
What do you dislike?
When I first moved to LA, it was very difficult to get consistent work. I was doing so many side jobs just trying to get by. And when you’re trying to make a name for yourself, and getting callback all the time, but barely booking jobs, it can be discouraging… Currently, I have a hard time seeing that the industry can have a tendency toward being ego driven. But, I do believe that there are plenty of incredibly aware and thoughtful human beings in the industry as well. The travel can also be draining and hard on the body. But I’ll gladly take it all to do what I love!
How do you make money/or how are you compensated?
Again, it’s different with each gig. But technically, I am my own business.
How much money do professional choreographers make?
There is such a range in the amount of money that each individual choreographer makes!! It IS possible to make a very healthy living as a choreographer, but it takes a LOT of hard work to build. I’ll just leave it at that!
How much money did/do you make starting out?
It was tough at first… My first year living in LA, I probably only made ten thousand dollars the whole year!..
What education, schooling, or skills are needed to do this?
Again, various for each thing. It’s important to train and learn as often as possible in your craft and never stop.
What is most challenging about what you do?
What is most rewarding?
I think those last 2 are pretty much answered in the likes and dislikes!.. I will say along with the stuff I talked about above, juggling everything can be a challenge. But I have a great manager who really really helps!
What advice would you offer someone considering this career?
Make sure that you really truly love it! And that you are confident in yourself. It will take time, and hard work, and you will be rejected and will hit road bumps. Perseverance is key!
How much time off do you get/take?
What is a common misconception people have about what you do?
People think that it is so glamorous. And it can be, but there is sooooo much blood, sweat and tears that go into creating that “glamour’!
What are your goals/dreams for the future?
As long as I am creating and doing things that I love, and making a healthy living doing so… I am happy! I would definitely like to star in a movie musical or TV show/film where I can dance, sing and act soon!
What else would you like people to know about your job/career?
I think you can visit my website for more info! www.ginastarbuck.com