Julian doesn’t have much interest in going to Hollywood. However, he wouldn’t turn down the opportunity if it presented itself. He simply wants to work as a dancer. These days, though, he’s focused on classical and contemporary ballet. That said, he’d jump at the opportunity to work on Broadway…or to be on Glee.
So, I thought it appropriate to ask Salim Gauwloos some questions about what our dancin’ boys need to do to succeed bi-coastally: in Hollywood and on Broadway. If you don’t know Slam, read yesterdays post. He’s only one of the most versatile and successful male dancers I know. He’s danced with Madonna in Hollywood and in Aida on Broadway. He’s classically trained in ballet as well as in other dance styles, and he choreographs ballet pieces for professional companies and for YAGP competitors. I think he probably has a good idea what it takes to succeed in all these venues. Here’s are his answers:
1. For those boys who think they want to become dancers in Hollywood—for music videos and as back up dancers for artists—what advice would you give them? What tools do they need to succeed?
Know as many styles as possible. Always take class. Take care of yourself, meaning eating healthy (organic), [taking care of] your skin, hair and body.
Your body has to be in shape all the time, and you have to be able to create an image for yourself, something that will make you different from the rest.
Go to a lot of auditions and work hard, hard, hard.
2. You left Hollywood for Broadway. What dance skills served you best on that stage?
I never left Hollywood. I just broadened my horizons. Broadway is a whole other world. You need to know how to dance, sing, and act. Everything goes really quickly.
When I got the show Aida on Broadway in 2003, I auditioned as a dancer but soon realized that I also had to sing and deliver lines. They rehearsed me for one week and threw me into the show.
I don’t think I’ve ever been that nervous. I kept thinking, “This is my Broadway premiere, and I’m going to mess up the whole show.” After all, it wasn’t that bad. During my two-year run I got to perform with Tony Braxton, Michelle Williams, and Simone and Deborah Cox. It was an amazing experience.
Here taking theatre classes and a lot of other dance styles paid off.
3. For those boys wanting to dance on Broadway, what tips or advice would you offer to help them reach their goals?
Take dance class and voice class. Go see a lot of Broadway shows.
Go to many different Broadway calls; it will make you stronger, and you’ll get more used to it. And always go to the front line at an audition.
4. After Hollywood and Broadway, you made a drastic change and went back to classical and contemporary ballet why?
It wasn’t a drastic change. It wasn’t a change at all. I like to do it all. I like to be versatile, I get bored very quickly.
I’ve always kept creating pieces in the ballet and contemporary dance world, but for some reason the press loves saying that I stopped or came back from or to the classical style. Just because I get featured on a specific style while working doesn’t mean I left anything behind.
[Come back soon for one more installment of Salim’s advice to our dancin’ boys. This time he’ll discuss tips on achieving success in the dance world in general and how to become a choreographer.]