TIPS FROM THE THE PROS…
Choreographer / Dancer.
Catarina Santos is an established dancer, choreographer and mentor. She is known in the dance industry for her fierce dance style, infectious energy yet humble nurture. With her passion and discipline work ethic she is a role model to performers.
Cat has worked along side both Australian and International Artist as well as leading Choreographers. Cat has immersed herself in choreography, created routines by constantly pushing beyond her boundaries to produce imaginative, jaw dropping routines which have been recognised globally.
Cat's ultimate goal is to reach out to all young aspiring dancers all over the globe through teaching / performing. Her message to performers - ''Believe in yourself, be your own support system and support the people around you through lessons that not only involve dance, but simply, lessons that are needed in every day life, through a fun, energetic and inspiring teaching method.''
What was the last song you danced to?
The last song I danced to was Chris Brown’s “Picture me rollin’”
Best job/ artist you’ve worked for?
Oh that’s a tough one!!! Only because for me, its about the whole process! Can I list a few?... I’m going to anyway…
1- Nickelodeon Kids Choice awards – simply for the “candy bar” room that we could indulge in… whenever… we …wanted.
2- Dream Dance Company – I was given the opportunity to be featured as the artist alongside 17 other dancers. A once in a life time opportunity.
3- As for the artists I have danced behind it’s a tie between Nick Jonas and Ricky Martin! I loved both the artists I danced for and the rehearsal experience for both!
What do you look for in a dancer when hiring?
For me it’s all about being able to trust the dancer. You don’t have to be the most popular, technical, full of tricks dancer, but if you can show me in 4x8’s that you’ve listened carefully to the detail, picked it up quickly, kept it clean and performed it with a fire in your belly and love for what you do then I am happy. Being able to pick up choreography quickly is a big thing for me as I like to teach fast.
How much does someone's social media status affect your decision when hiring?
Social Media... I’m having a love/hate relationship with it at the moment! It’s one of those things that I find you can’t live with… but can’t live without! But at the end of the day it has no influence on me when hiring whether or not they have 10k followers or 200. The only reason I would check social media would be to see if they have any videos up on their instagram or facebook of them dancing, but only if they are someone that I haven’t yet come across or taught before.
What do you think is lacking in the dance industry?
My personal opinion of what is lacking most in our industry is the hunger and drive to create work. In saying that, lately this has begun to blossom with the influence of some great leaders in our industry, however in general I think it’s something that has not been truly focused on by all of us individually. Australia already has very little work for the amount of dancers we produce. We need to find a way to create jobs for ourselves and each other to keep our dance community alive and employed, or else we are virtually training for what?
What makes a good performer?
A good performer to me is a good actor/actress, someone who in that moment makes me believe whatever they are telling me. But to be a GREAT performer, that’s what sets you apart. The best performers I know leave me walking away not being able to think about anything else. On some level it’s about creating a connection between you and your audience member. To me that all stems from your eyes, your gut and your soul. Your energy should be nothing less than incredibly infectious.
What do you think the main difference is between the Australian and American dance industry?
I am actually answering this while I sit here in Los Angeles! It’s actually something that’s been playing on my mind lately and to me there are MANY differences simply on the fact that there is much more work over here, a dance culture that has literally been born here and much more respect for dance as a career. But the biggest difference I have noticed is our Australian subdued nature.
Everyone here is SO confident. And even if they are not, they will not let any one know any different! And a lot of the time that’s what makes them better. Not just because of what they are dancing but HOW they are dancing. It’s all a character, a mind frame. And when you THINK you are good, you become good! However I find back at home we are (and this is me generalizing!) afraid of being too good, afraid of being too confident for fear of judgment. We are so modest back at home (Australia) and even though I think it’s a great quality to be modest, sometimes, it can also be our downfall.
I believe Australians are the hardest working dancers around the world, our work ethic is like no other!
A piece of advice for young performers…
Through out your career you will constantly be faced with downfalls and moments that make you question why you chose dance as a career. My advice is to not let those moments define you. The only person who gets to define you is you. And its how you define yourself that determines your journey. Also, don’t box yourself and stick to one style, a diverse dancer is an employable dancer. You don’t want to be the painter who only paints in blue.