New York City – Through the eyes and feet of a dancer.
So as a freelance performer I know how hard it can be to maintain and hone your trade. How you can go from filming a major movie one week fwith a great wage, to the next week having to adopt what I call ‘survival’ jobs ( bar work, promo, temping etc), while all still trying to take class and network
And all I can say is that going to train in the USA was one of the best things I could have done. It was so refreshing, inspiring and I would heavily recommend it. If you get the opportunity – GO!!! And even if you don’t get the opportunity, make time and go !
Here are just a few helpful tips and some info that may help you while you are out there – whether it be cheap theatre tickets or class recommendations etc. ( You can also check out my other blogs and Vlogs on my trip if you want some more ideas on what to do. )
So firstly, if you are not lucky enough to have friends out in NYC to stay with or to ask questions I would reach out on Social Media. Using the search bar or hashtags to look for other people who can recommended a certain area to stay, particular classes to take or even nice restaurants to dine at. Reaching out on social media was great for me while out there, and even though I was fortunate enough to have a lot of friends out there I was still able to get discounts on certain walking tours and exhibitions etc and find some great classes.
I feel the performing arts community in NYC is much more helpful then back home in the UK. It’s more supportive and nurturing, I am not sure if that is because I am English and have a ‘fancy’ accent but everyone has always been so friendly and helpful when I have been there.
Lets talk phones. As therapeutic as it is to not be glued to your phone, it is best to try and get a cell number while there. If you are only there for a week or so, no worries, but if you are there for an extended period it would definitely be worth getting one just so you can liaison with people and use google maps etc.
T-Mobile – With a $10 start up you can buy a month long price plan for a variety of different packages. The one I chose was $60 for a month and with that you got 3GB internet, unlimited Text and phone calls and somehow texts to the UK were free!!!. You Could spend $80 for the next plan up and have unlimited internet just FYI. If after your month you want to continue using it you just have to go into the T-mobile store ( or whatever phone provider you went with ) and ask them to swap you onto their daily plan which allows you to have the same deal for $3 a day.
Planet Fitness ( sounds intense right ) had a $10 a month deal while I was there (http://www.planetfitness.com) and they are have gyms dotted over NYC. Groupon can be your friend out there too. Offering you great deals on gym memberships, massages and events etc.
Let me bring your attention to Class pass (http://classpass.com/)! This is a wonderful concept that I would highly recommend especially if you are only in the city for a month or two. It is $99 for a month but with that you get your choice of 10 classes ( sometimes unlimited when they are offering that deal ). That might seem like a lot of money straight off the bat but with over a hundred studios to choose from with classes ranging from aerial and circus classes, rock climbing, gym workouts, dance classes, the list goes on… and on and on you have so much variety to chose from. Most of the classes offered are in the price range of $25-$35 by themselves ,so even if you only did 5 classes while there you are saving money. I also met some really good people this way and tried some new things I wouldn’t have thought to do back home.
Two of my top recommendations – New York Yoga ( Upper east side ) and Bari Studio in Tribeca – great studios, great teachers and so inspiring. – I loved it there. Another class that I loved but was not on class pass but well worth the money was aerial silk classes at Body and Pole.
Broadway dance centre I guess is the ‘Pineapple Dance Studios’ equivalent, (http://www.broadwaydancecenter.com/). You can pay $20 per class or $170 for 10 classes and they have other price packages as well. This saves you 3 dollars per class and you can have the pass last a month or 2 months, so if you are going to be there for a while it is worth it as every little helps. At Broadway Dance Centre you don’t have to pay entry and you pay for the class you want to do at reception, so it can often be a case of first come first serve as they don’t let the classes go over a certain capacity.
Other studios are Steps, Alvin Ailey and Ripley Greir to name a few. All with websites and just as good dance teachers and studios as BDC, and often the same teachers teach at each place. I think I did 30 dance classes in a month plus lots of other acting and fitness classes and once you start getting into a schedule you will meet people who can recommend other classes etc.
Actors Connection (http://www.actorsconnection.com/) I did several classes through this studio/training platform and it was well worth the money. Great teachers and fellow students who want to learn. They offer one off workshops and masterclasses with casting directors as well as longer running courses. It is great for voice over lessons, hosting, acting and much more, also check out the Actors Greenroom.
Stagedoor connection is another little gem that this city has to offer. stagedoorconnections.com is a great gateway between directors, choreographers and us the ‘dancers’. Offering you masterclasses and workshops with choreographers of TV shows and Broadway musicals. This was one of the best things I discovered and so educational getting to work alongside such amazing creatives.
Today tix is a good little app (for Iphones and android phones) for finding some cheap theatre tickets but it does change daily so make sure to keep checking it. If you have a student card take it with you as they have student discount seats on a lot of shows and most shows do a Theatre lottery. The theatre lottery is normally done two hours before the show, you turn up and put your name into the ballot (stating if you want one or two tickets). Half an hour after you have put your name in they normally pull out enough names to give out 22/24 tickets at a reduced rate.
Travel in Nyc is so much cheaper, a weekly metrocard with unlimited travel to anywhere on the NYC subway is $30. The whole grid system of NYC seems daunting at first, but by day 3/4 you will be fine. As well as google maps I found the apps Hopstop and Exit Strategy very helpful for navigating the city. I also enjoy walking so if I was not in a rush I would walk a lot of places.
I will keep updating this but hope this is of some help and if you have any other recommendations please let me know 🙂