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Meet Shate’ Edwards of The Working Dancer

Today we’d like to introduce you to Shate’ Edwards.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Shate’. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I’m originally from Houston, TX. I’ve danced my whole life and began booking professional work as a teenager. After graduating from Spelman College here in Atlanta, I moved to Los Angeles to fully pursue a dance career. Since then, I’ve performed throughout the country, spent some time working overseas, and became a dance professor after earning an MFA in dance.

Once my students learned of my vast professional background, they often asked me for help with launching their dance career after college. Since I didn’t always have the time to connect with each student one-on-one, I started blogging about everything I knew about professional dance life. I started sharing all the things I wish I knew when I was just started.

From that, The Working Dancer was born. We share blog posts, podcast interviews, videos, books, and more of the best dance career insight and inspiration possible.

While I continue to teach and choreograph productions, my passion project has allowed me to evolve into a career coach. I’ve contributed a number of articles to the career section of Dance Magazine and several other dance publications, and I also have the honor of mentoring and supporting students as they start or transition in their careers.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has absolutely NOT been a smooth road. The road to success is definitely not a straight line, especially in an artistic field. Once I decided to fully pursue a dance career, I had to figure out what that looked like agents, location, making a living, etc. I had to learn how to deal with constant rejection. I also had to figure out what type of dance career best suited and fulfilled me. Those were things I wasn’t necessarily aware I had to deal with, so I had to figure them out as I went along.

Aside from finding ways to make a living and sustain a career as a dancer, two of my biggest struggles was patience and understanding my worth. Since I’m so driven, I wanted things to happen on my timetable, and in the beginning, I never really allowed myself to “trust the process.” As you can imagine, that caused me a lot of frustration and grief. But once I learned to let go and remember why I started to begin with, my career started to flourish on its own.

Regarding knowing my worth, I spent so much time early on choking in auditions and shrinking back in fear. Even though I’ve danced my whole life, I really tensed up when I felt like I was being judged. Of course, the only way to get better at auditioning is to continue auditioning, but I also had to learn to trust myself and to value what I bring to the table regardless of whether or not I booked the job.

Please tell us about The Working Dancer.
In a nutshell, The Working Dancer educates and empowers dancers to create the career and lives of their dreams. Our motto is “Believe. Be Taught. Begin.” While any dancer at any stage of their career could benefit from our resources, we specialize in offering insight to aspiring or early career dancers.

We’re known for offering positive yet realistic content as well as for the motivational content on our Instagram page. We’re most proud of the messages we get from dancers telling us how our content has helped them to take the leap of faith to start their career or has given them the support they need to keep going when they felt like giving up.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Tough question! I honestly can’t pinpoint just one as I have lots of great memories from my childhood. I can say that many of my happiest moments involved my family, good music, and an open space to get my groove on!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Marrica Evans, Tonya Dailey

Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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