Dallas — As an educator, I spend a great deal of time mentoring and advising students on what classes to take each semester, how to apply for residencies and intensives, and how to craft artist statements and résumés for college and graduate school applications, as well as writing their résumés for auditions.
I was recently working with a student on their first artistic résumé and in one of our meetings they told me they saw online, on a fairly popular blog that is visited by many professional performers that I know (and some who even write for it), that it’s OK to fudge the truth a little bit.
“Fudging” is just another word for “lying,” and lying on your résumé is never OK. I’m all for freedom of expression and letting your creative flag wave proudly, but the résumé is not the place to channel your creative spirit. If you want your résumé to “pop,” try being bold by telling the truth.
Fudging the facts will only come back to get you. Maybe you can squeak through an audition, but within the first couple of rehearsals, it will become apparent that you don’t have the technique or training you might have claimed to have on your résumé.
That piece of paper, while just a small peek into who you are, is sometimes the only thing that will get you into a room. Words matter, especially if you are working in a tight-knit community, like Dallas. If you put down a well-known or popular person’s name on your résumé, claiming to have trained with them or even performed for them, but really you took one class from them two years ago, and shared a stage with them for a free public performance, that doesn’t count as professional experience. Just be honest, and put it under a different sub-heading, like “Residencies and Workshops.” That at least indicates that you have an interest in and/or minimal experience with a movement genre or acting technique.
It’s human nature to not want to be seen as having a mediocre track record; we all want to be bright, shiny lights. But don’t cross the line. Everything has to be in a verifiable territory. Avoid hyperbole. Avoid buzzwords. They just feel dishonest.
And, there’s no crime in being a beginner. Everyone was at one point. The only way you improve and become more experienced is by presenting your actual current toolbox. Because being honest and exposing your “weaknesses” might actually make you the most hirable person in the room. You’re showing that you want to learn. That you are open to new experiences. That you are willing to put yourself out there—and maybe fail—but you’re not ashamed to admit what you don’t know. Truthfully, that’s one of the most desirable qualities in a performer. No fear. No shame. Just pure confidence.
You have to ask yourself what’s more important: getting a job or looking impressive on a piece of paper? One’s redeemable. One’s recyclable. It’s your choice.
» Danielle Georgiou is a dance educator, critic and writer. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of DGDG (Danielle Georgiou Dance Group) and is a working dancer and performance artist. Her column Sixth Position appears on the third Friday of the month on TheaterJones.com.
- February 2014: Cash Choreography
- March 2014: Make the Fringe Your Future
- April 2014: Don't Freak Out, It's Just an Audition
- May 2014: You Love Dance. You're Not Alone
- June 2014: Persevering Through Movement
- July 2014: Sharing in Success
- August 2014: To the Barre
- September 2014: Method Act
- October 2014: Fear of Flying
- December 2014: The Editor Dance
- January 2015: Community Relations
- February 2015: The Fabric of Movement
- March 2015: State of the Dance
- April 2015: The Dance Mom Complex
- May 2015: Who Wants to Date a Dancer?
- June 2015: Figuring How Men Fit In
- August 2015: Creative Economy
- September 2015: Dancing to Learn
- October 2015: Whose Idea Is It Anyway?
- December 2015: '15 Going on '16
- January 2016: In Memoriam
- Februrary 2016: The Politics of Dancing
- March 2016: No column
- April 2016: Defining Dance Theatre
- May 2016: No column
- June 2016: Dancing for Change
- July/August 2016: No column
- September 2016: Sweat the Details, Not the Consequences
- October/November 2016: No column
- December 2016: Louder Than Tweets
- January 2016: Making and Moving