Dance is an extremely competitive field, and only the most skilled dancers can turn it into a career. Our guest is one such dancer.
Michelle Palutucci is a professional dancer originally from Sydney, Australia, where she took to dance from a very young age.
After training with the prestigious Joffrey Ballet School NYC, Palatucci joined Flair Entertainment NYC, where she was under the direction of Lily Cummings.
Soon after, she was hired by BAVA Dance to be a part of their debut performance at Bryant Park Contemporary Dance Performances in 2019.
Palatucci’s incredible technique and artistry also led to her being featured in ‘Dance Academy,’ a popular television drama about ballet dancers.
LNGFRM recently interviewed Palatucci. Read on to see her full comments. Aspiring dancers will find some valuable advice for how to make it in this challenging field.
What do you think are two or three key skills that every professional dancer should have?
Palatucci: Technique, artistry, and a strong mindset.
What’s something really important you’ve learned during your time as a professional dancer?
Palatucci: Reaching the level of ‘professional dancer’ meant that I had to get out of my head and remove all the negative comments.
You have to be really strong and know that you are at a level where you are an amazing dancer. Otherwise, you would have never reached that level. This makes your performance come from the heart, and the audience can see this.
Do you have any tips for how aspiring dancers can get some early gigs?
Palatucci: Keep up with your social media, continuously update your dance reel, talk to everyone, and never be shy. There are also a bunch of dance audition websites. Applying for everything never hurts. You have to be in it if you want to get it.
Do you think it’s helpful for dancers to have an active social media presence?
Palatucci: I find it extremely beneficial for dancers to be active on social media. This industry is always growing, and I’m finding that’s how choreographers, dancers, and teachers are reaching out now, whether that’s to dance for them, teach, etc.
It also allows for a greater audience, not just in the dance industry, to see your talent and share it with friends. They might even know someone looking to hire a dancer.
What’s one performance that you think really helped your career?
Palatucci: That’s hard since I believe all my performances have helped my career grow. If I had to pick just one, it would be my first ever paid company contract with a contemporary ballet company here in NYC, known as ASARTS contemporary ballet.
They gave me my first professional performance after graduating from Joffrey Ballet School’s pre-professional program in NYC. This opened my eyes to other professional dancers of my generation, choreographers, and even theater spaces. The opportunity to perform in New York was just amazing since that’s been my goal since I was back at my local dance school in Sydney, Australia.
How crucial is it to stay in shape as a professional dancer?
Palatucci: It’s very crucial. Staying in shape is a necessity for dancers. We are also on the go from one rehearsal to the next. You have to be as healthy as you can be.
Dancers, even from a young age, learn how to take care of and feed their bodies with the right nutrients. All this helps a dancer, physically. You will feel your strongest when you are your healthiest.
Do you have any additional advice for aspiring dancers?
Palatucci: Your mental strength is just as important. Dancers go through a lot, especially when they’re staring at themselves in a mirror all day. You’re very aware of what you’re eating and how you look.
There are some choreographers and teachers out there who won’t sugarcoat anything, so having thick skin and taking what they say as constructive advice is really helpful. You know you’re great. Never second-guess yourself.