Ep. 166 Transcript - Dr. Chelsea Pierotti

Ep. 166 Transcript

Dr Chelsea: Hi coaches! If you hire choreographers for your dance team, listen in to today's episode, because I have a guest who has some really helpful insights into that coach-choreographer relationship and how to work together to create championship-winning routines.

And if you're new here, welcome to Passion for Dance! I'm your host, Dr. Chelsea, and my mission is to change the dance industry to create happier, more successful dancers through positive mental skills. And today's guest is Nicholas Kade Clement of NKC Choreography.

After his own professional career, Nick started choreographing for dance teams all over the country, and his work has produced multiple national championships, world championships, and numerous teams finishing in top spots at Universal Dance Association, National Dance Alliance, and Dance Team Union National Championships. But behind his many accomplishments, I know him as a hardworking Southern boy who will always make you laugh. Nick told me all about his choreography process, cultivating resilience as a choreographer, and what it takes to create that successful coach-choreographer relationship. So I know there are some gems in here for coaches.

But before we dive into the show, I also want to ask you a quick favor. If you enjoy the show, if you’ve found any value in it, a simple, free way to show your support is to subscribe to the show on Apple podcasts or Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts, go to www.followthepodcast.com/passionfordance and hit subscribe. It truly means the world to me to see the support, and it also helps me know what kinds of episodes you want to hear. So go to www.followthepodcast.com/passionfordance. Thank you so much, and here's my conversation with Nick!


[Motivational Music]

Hi, I'm Dr. Chelsea, a former professional dancer and mental performance coach. I know what it feels like to be a passionate dance teacher who cares about your dancers, but you want to challenge them and help them be their best, and I also recognize that some traditions and teaching practices in the dance world are harmful. So I'm on a mission to change our dance industry by creating happier, more successful dancers using positive mental skills.

When you understand how to help your dancers with their confidence, how to find their own motivation, work together as a team and more, your dancers will unlock new levels of competitive success and happiness. And it's not just about them; you deserve the same. So we'll talk about how dance teachers can use positive mental skills to be more confident, resilient, and motivated as well.

Be sure to hit “subscribe” wherever you listen to podcasts. There are new episodes every Thursday, and each week you'll hear from me and my guests with advice and actionable tips for building mental toughness, covering topics about mindset, motivation, resilience, and building a community. Passion for Dance is a show designed to help dance educators like you have a positive impact on every dancer you teach.

[Motivational Music]


Dr Chelsea: Welcome, Nick. I'm so happy to have you!

Nick Clement: Hello! I'm super excited to be here with you.

Dr Chelsea: I love chatting with you as always, and I'm excited to have you share your perspective and your advice for so many aspiring choreographers or coaches or studio owners working with choreographers. So will you share a little about your journey and maybe especially focusing on that transition to choreography being your full-time career?

Nick’s Journey and Career Transition to Full-Time Choreographer – 3:21

Nick Clement: Sure, absolutely. My obsession — I'm going to call it an obsession because it was one, and most people who hear this story get a good little chuckle about it. Like, when I was a kid, I was obsessed with the dance team at my high school. So when I was in elementary school, I knew where I was going to high school, we all fed into the one school. So Friday night football games, that was all I cared about was watching the dance team perform, and I remember they had these metallic poms, and I begged my mom to buy me Christmas tinsel so I could hold the wads of tinsel like metallic poms, and I would choreograph routines on the back patio nightly and put on performances. So that's really where the obsession began.

Dr Chelsea: Yes.

Nick Clement: And, you know, it kind of grew from there, and I took dance growing up and gymnastics, and after college — in college I didn't dance at all, you know, because I feel like I went into the mentality of, “Well, dance can't be a job.” So let me — and I'm going to get a real degree that I can actually use. I played around with nursing for a minute, and then that didn't really work out in my favor. It was not my thing.

So then I switched into elementary ed because I was like, “You know what? I can at least use that, maybe teach high school, and then coach a dance team.”

Dr Chelsea: And get to coach, yeah.

Nick Clement: That was going to be my in, right? And right at the end of college, when I was doing my student teaching, I was like, “I can't do this. There is no way that I can sit in a classroom and know that this is going to be my life every day.” I was like, “I can't do it.”

Dr Chelsea: Yeah.

Nick Clement: So I decided to audition to dance at Disney World and got it.

Dr Chelsea: Mm-hmm.

Nick Clement: Graduated, auditioned, got it, moved to Orlando, and then I worked at Disney for about 12 years total dancing. And toward the end of those 12 years is when I kind of started just kind of trickling into the choreo world. A random team, my high school that I went to, reached out to me and, you know, just connections with people — like I would have a coach reach out and be like, “Oh, hey, I heard you choreograph kick stuff. Will you come do this?” So, you know, I would choreograph one dance a year.

Dr Chelsea: Mm-hmm.

Nick Clement: And when I knew that my full-time dancing career was coming to an end, and I was, you know, reaching early thirties and I was like, “All right, I need to transition out of this,” and I knew the only way that I was going to do it was to move from Orlando, move home to Alabama, that way I wasn't continually being pulled back into dancing, and it forced me to reach out to people and make connections and start choreographing more and more, and that's kind of how that transition occurred. And then I just kept building it.

Every year I would, you know, reach out to more people, garner more attention. You know, I created an Instagram account, and that was back when people weren't really doing stuff like that. Like, you know, this was like 2012, 2013, you know, so people weren't really even using Instagram. So it was kind of the first inkling of branding and marketing myself as a choreographer. Like there were very few of us back then. It was like me, Toya, Karl. You know, it was just like a handful of us that, you know, people kind of knew about. So that's just kind of how that transition occurred, and it's just been growing ever since, really.

Nick’s Choice to Move Home – 7:26

Dr Chelsea: Yeah, exploding, for sure. Okay, before we go into choreography and your process, I want to ask about that choice to move home so that you didn't get pulled back in, because I think that's the safety net, right?

Nick Clement: Oh, absolutely. 

Dr Chelsea: So many people in their, you know, twenties and thirties are like, “But this is comfortable,” or “I know I will make money here,” or “I know that I have friends here,” right?

Nick Clement: Right.

Dr Chelsea: And then deciding like, “Well, if I want to make this leap, I have to change my circumstances.” Was that a hard decision for you? Or you knew — you were like, “Nope, I have to, no question.”

Nick Clement: Um, I don't — it wasn't hard, and the reason it wasn't hard was because I had been kind of living in yuck for about two years, dancing, trying to make the decision. So I really kind of got to the point where there was no other decision. I was miserable, like showing up to work, dancing every day, 6 days a week, 12 hours a day. Like, it was the last place I wanted to be. So I think I let it go on so long that it wasn't hard at all. I knew that I was making the right decision to kind of remove it from even being an option and kind of force me to have to move into that new direction.

Dr Chelsea: Okay, that makes sense. But it was fun the first 10 years? It was just the end.

Nick Clement: Yes.

Dr Chelsea: I feel like dancing at Disney is like this — I don't know. This thing that’s like that would be such a fun thing to go do for a while, but…

Nick Clement: Absolutely. Yeah.

Dr Chelsea: Yeah. Okay, good. So let's talk about your choreography process a little bit, your resilience and mindset, some of the dancers you work with, but let's just start with the broad choreography process. What does that look like for you when you're creating a routine?

Nick’s Choreography Process – 9:16

Nick Clement: Well, you know, I'm entering the midst of it right now, moving into next season, and I definitely think my process now is different than it was when I first started doing this. Now, because I do such a large volume of work throughout the season, I have to compartmentalize. It's the only way that I can do it, and that is very hard for my coaches to understand, because I, you know, might have something scheduled for September and that coach wants to talk about it now. She's excited. She's ready to discuss music. She wants to talk costuming. She's sending me ideas. She's asking, “Oh, can we go ahead and maybe get the turn sequence so the kids can work on it all summer?” And my answer to that is always, “There are X amount of routines that are occurring before I even begin to think about yours, and if I start thinking about yours now, it's going to put such an amount of stress on me because of the ones that are coming before you, that I really have to focus on one from beginning to completion, and then I divorce it, and that allows me to move on to the next one.

Dr Chelsea: Yeah.

Nick Clement: If I have all of that going on at one time, I really think I would have to crawl into a hole. So I'm very much — music might be the only thing that I kind of allow myself to have going on all at once, but that's just because I'm constantly listening to music and constantly sourcing and searching for music. So if something comes up that I like, I keep that ongoing list where I might be like, “Ooh, this would be good for so and so.” So I, you know, make that mental note, but I'm not like cutting it or mapping it out or doing anything like that.

But, you know, I really will, you know, have that completed, edited music, and then the process would begin with me mapping that music out eight count by eight count. I am also a choreographer that plans everything in advance. So I do not choreograph on the spot. And that might be that compartmentalizing coming into play where I am like, so, you know, specific about —

Dr Chelsea: You have a plan, yeah.

Nick Clement: I need that plan to be in place for me to be successful. So the entire choreo process will happen before I even go to see the team, but that also allows me to move through the movement quickly, and that gives me time on the backend to play around or make adjustments because the kids have movement for me to work with.

Dr Chelsea: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Nick Clement: So that's kind of the process of the choreo aspect of it is I give the full thing attention before I even see the team, and it's done. That way, when I finish teaching, I know that I've left the coach with a complete product.

Dr Chelsea: Mm-hmm.

Nick Clement: You know, it can still continue to evolve throughout the season as it should, but at least I know there's a working project there in place, you know?

Dr Chelsea: Yeah. That compartmentalizing makes sense both as the person having too many of these in your brain. And I'm sure even as a coach where maybe they want to talk to you about it all the time, but at the same time, when you're with them, they would want you to be 100% with them. So like, this is the flip side of that. Like, “When I'm with you, I'm all in a hundred percent. I'm all yours. But until then I'm a hundred percent with this other client,” and, yeah, honoring that I'm sure is a challenge for some of them, but makes sense.

Nick Clement: Correct. Oh, it's very tough. And I mean, you know, I'm a friendly person by nature. I love talking. I'll sit on the phone with people all day long, but a lot of my coaches may not think about or may not understand or it's just not in their realm of vision to know that if I have upwards of 50 coaches in a season, at least 10 of them are texting or calling me every single day about something, and that's a lot.

Dr Chelsea: That is a lot. Yeah. Well, let's talk about this relationship a little bit then. Because I think it's obviously more and more common to hire expertise and to have people come in for, you know, bringing something that you don't have and having people who've made an incredible career out of this. Let's elevate the caliber, which is wonderful, but I think it's a unique situation where it's just the dynamic is hard between a coach or a studio owner and this choreographer where you have the same outcome goal of creating a wonderful routine, but you might not have the same vision of how to get there. You're not — you know, that communication.

So when you're working with this or trying to build this relationship, what do you look for in the team or the coach before you agree to work with them?

What Nick Seeks in a Team/Coach Prior to Working With Them – 14:37

Nick Clement: I think a willingness to trust is huge, and obviously that trust isn't going to just happen because they hired you. You know, there are coaches that I have worked with for ten years, and then every year there are a handful of new coaches that I've never worked with. So that trust level is going to be a little bit different between every coach. But as long as that level exists somewhere, anywhere in that range, I think we're off to a good start.

I can tell when there's not trust, and that might have come from experiences they've had with other choreographers that they're now laying on top of me. So you never really know where it's coming from. So it's a lot of just me trying to show them and let them know that I have my part under control to kind of help them feel a little bit more comfortable, and that also lessens that need for constant communication when they know, “I know he's going to show up and everything is going to be in place. Great, fabulous,” you know? But when they don't know that they want to communicate more like, “Hey, do we have the music yet? Would love to hear it.” “Hey, do we have this yet?” You know, it's that constant I think I need to check in to — you know?

So I want to be able to build that trust. So that's something that I look for instantly, like are you willing to trust me? You know, and if that's in place, then I'll take on any coach that's willing to do that.

Dr Chelsea: Yeah.

Nick Clement: And then after that, it's like, are you willing to have communication, period? Like, because there does need to be communication. There are coaches or studio owners that really think, “Your job is to show up and give me the choreo. I'll handle the rest,” you know? So there are the coaches where I'm begging for videos. “Send me a video. I'd love to see it.”

Dr Chelsea: Mm-hmm. Right. You need to know what the team — yeah, where the dancers are at.

Nick Clement: Right, and you never get it, you know? So it's like then there's that portion of it. What else do I –?

Dr Chelsea: That Goldilocks-amount of communication, right? I need some, but don't blow up my phone every day.

Nick Clement: Correct, correct. But also it's realizing that you're not just dealing with coaches and owners, you're dealing with a human, and everybody has their personality quirks.

But me being a smart business owner is learning the personalities of these people and being able to give them what they need while not allowing them to take too much of me.

Dr Chelsea: Yeah.

Nick Clement: If that makes sense.

Dr Chelsea: Oh, that makes perfect sense. Yes. I think that's true no matter what your industry is or what you're doing, because you have such a service heart. So if you want to give and give and make this work, then protect yourself as well and make sure it's not too far. Yeah.

Nick Clement: Yeah, and that took me years to learn, especially in the beginning stages of building this choreography company, I would say yes to everything because I never knew, “Is this going to end one day? I need to say yes to everything because I never know when this is going to stop and people are going to stop asking me to come work with their team or their program.” But that really did cause burnout in several phases where I slowly but surely learned what I needed to do on my end in order to kind of keep that flame lit.

Dr Chelsea: Yeah, everybody in the dance industry, when we work, it's 24/7 365. We don't shut it off. We don't stop. Not saying that's healthy, but that is the standard, right? Or that's just what we're used to, and so, being able to be kind of resilient in that. And also your choreography, it’s explicitly judged. Like, that's the whole point of what happens is you're creating this product that someone else is going to judge and rank and talk about, and I can only imagine that adds to that pressure and potential for burnout when it's always externally evaluated.

Nick Clement: Oh, absolutely. You're in a constant state of judgment —

Dr Chelsea: Yeah.

Nick Clement: — of what people think about you.

Dr Chelsea: Of course, which is yes, that's the nature of what this is, but also I guess it has to be that way, right, if that's what you're doing. You're creating a competitive routine that's going to be ranked and judged. And you started to say a little of how you've gotten better about it, but how are you more resilient in this industry and continue to grow and thrive when you are always evaluated?

Resilience to Grow and Thrive Through Constant Evaluation – 19:37

Nick Clement: I think that compartmentalizing comes into play because not only do I compartmentalize the work I'm doing, I have to compartmentalize me as a human and the person that I am, and how, you know, whatever occurs with the choreography that I put out isn't a reflection on me as a person. It might be a reflection of what I created or the choreography that I gave, but there’s opinions of people that are coming into play with that as well. So it doesn't really define anything for me. And I think that took a while to realize, but the compartmentalizing aspect really helps because I really do — I look at the relationships that I have with people not in the same lane as the choreography that's been created or the work I'm doing with the team.

Dr Chelsea: Yeah. Right.

Nick Clement: There are two different things that are occurring simultaneously. So, you know, if I might have a bad choreo year or, you know, a dance that didn't succeed as much as I wanted it to, you know, that it's just not a reflection on me or my life or the relationships I have with family and friends, and I don't let it cross that barrier.

Dr Chelsea: Yeah, that's amazing. Because that's the identity part that even dancers have a hard time with, coaches have a hard time with that your product onstage is not you. It is something you do. It is something you love and you work hard at, and it feels good when it's accepted, but it's not you. It's not everything of who you are.

Nick Clement: Exactly.

Dr Chelsea: Yeah, so many especially younger dancers, coaches are wrapped up in, “If I don't get that win, that external validation, then I wasn't good enough,” rather than, “I'm still good enough. I'm still successful.” It’s just that routine didn't perform well today, wasn't received well. It's okay.

Nick Clement: Right.

Dr Chelsea: Yeah. When you're working with these coaches, right, and trying to come up with this product. So even if — like what you said about divorcing it and having your relationship with them as a human is different than this product you're trying to create. But I imagine you're not going to always get along.

Nick Clement: Right.

Dr Chelsea: So how do you go about handling these disagreements, conflicts, hard conversations with coaches?

Handling Disagreements, Conflicts, and Hard Conversations with Coaches – 22:10

Nick Clement: You know, the older I get, I feel like I have gotten a little bit sassier in my approach with this, because at the end of the day, you know, if my toilet is broken and I hire a plumber to come and fix the toilet, now my dad would, but I'm not going to stand over the plumber and direct him in fixing the toilet, because I've hired the expert to come fix the toilet, right?

Dr Chelsea: Right.

Nick Clement: And so, a lot of times I immediately enter that defensiveness of, you know, why did you hire me? Like, it's that trust thing again. It's like you can tell through the conversation that there's something they're not trusting about what's been given to them. But I also think that you need to allow people, coaches, studio owners to express their opinions about the product because, at the end of the day, they did purchase something. So if they're not happy with it, they should be able to say, “Hey, I'm not happy with this,” and it, and it might even be like, “I don't know why I'm not happy with this.”

So and this has been like the past few years of me trying to find that balance of feeling like the expert but also allowing people to have feelings and viewpoints of the product that I've given them, and it's tough because people will approach how they talk to you differently, depending upon their personality. Some people come to me walking on eggshells because they're scared to say anything to me. You know, they're like, “Oh God, I don't like this part of the –.”

Dr Chelsea: Yeah, “How do I admit that I don't like the end?” Yeah.

Nick Clement: Correct, and then there are people that are just straightforward and they're like, “Hey, Nick, this end isn't working. Do you have any other suggestions? Can I send you a video? There's just something about it. Let me see what you think.” That is the one I love.

Dr Chelsea: I was like that sounds good. That's not attacking you. That's just saying, yeah, “Help.”

Nick Clement: Because that's the person that's saying like, “There's something about this I don't like. Will you look at it? Maybe you can offer me an alternative.” They throw it in my court as the expert to offer an alternative solution, or it might even be me saying, “Well, there's something about this part that I think if we clean it, it's going to read better,” or “If maybe we change the level of –,” you know what I mean? They're allowing me the opportunity to adjust it, and then there are the non-communicators that will just do whatever needs to be done and never say anything to you and they avoid it.

Dr Chelsea: Mm-hmm.

Nick Clement: You know, it is what it is. But, yeah, it's, it's tough when there's a disagreement with somebody that's paying you money to do something because, at the end of the day, they paid you money. So I went to them to have the conversation, but like I said, I've learned how to kind of defend myself in an appropriate way if somebody's overstepping a boundary, you know?

Dr Chelsea: Yep.

Nick Clement: Because I think, at the end of the day, it's adult, so there should be adult communication occurring, and that doesn't always happen.

Dr Chelsea: Totally. Right.

Nick Clement: It doesn't always happen. I'm also a firm believer in calling people out. Like, I don't like the, “I'm not going to talk about it and then it goes away.” Like, if there's a weirdness happening or if I feel like there should be communication and it's not occurring, I will reach out and say, “Hey, let's talk about X, Y, and Z.”

Dr Chelsea: Yeah. Well, that makes sense. Like I said, that's the adult side of it of like conflicts don't just end, and you can ignore them, but they're not going to go away. So, and even if it's not a conflict, sometimes it's just, like you said, somebody that just doesn't want to talk and like just the absence of communication, it's like, what is happening?

But these difficult conversations don't actually have to be hard. You can come at it with this collaboration, and again, we both want the same outcome. We both want a routine that looks amazing that we're proud of, so can we talk about how to get there together?

Nick Clement: Right.

Dr Chelsea: But I'm sure, yeah, that doesn't happen every time.

Nick Clement: Not every time.

Dr Chelsea: Do you have — I don't know if you feel like you can, but stories are always fun, stories, anonymously, of teams where this collaboration went really well or times when the collaboration like fell apart.

Anonymous Example Stories of Team Collaborations – 27:03

Nick Clement: Okay, I'm going to rewind back maybe even — maybe I shouldn't put a date on this, because then people will kind of —

Dr Chelsea: People will go stalk your Instagram and find it.

Nick Clement: People will go stalk and figure out who this could be about. So I have a situation where I went and set choreography on a team, and like I said before, after choreo, months go by and I start thinking like, “You know what? I haven't heard from them. Let me check in.” “Hey, how's everything going? How's the dance looking? Feel free to send me videos. I'd love to see what everything's looking like,” right? No responses. Just ghost city. Nothing.

This went on for a couple more months where I would reach out like once every couple of weeks, and it almost became a game of like, just reach out again so they can not respond, you know?

Dr Chelsea: Yeah.

Nick Clement: Got to nationals thinking like, well, a couple of things can happen here. They're either going to come out and they're going to do the routine that I taught them and I'm going to be like, “Oh, well, I guess they just didn't need anything,” right?

Dr Chelsea: Yeah.

Nick Clement: Or option two, they're going to come out and the routine I taught will not be done, and it will be a completely different dance altogether, different music, different everything. Well, we kind of had an in-between option. It was the music that I did for them but none of the choreo I did for them, so all of the choreography had been changed.

Dr Chelsea: Oh, boy.

Nick Clement: You know, and I, as a choreographer, said to myself, you know, when I taught the routine and I left, the communication that was given was, “We love this. This was exceptional. Thank you so much for everything. This was incredible. Thanks for a great experience. We love the routine.”

Dr Chelsea: So what happened?

Nick Clement: So something occurred, and then more communication did not occur. So then I reached out and offered the opportunity to say, “You know what, we started working this dance, and it's just not happening for us,” and that would have allowed me to say, “Let me fix this for you. What about this is not working? Let's come up with a game plan and figure this out so we can make sure what you paid for is going to be a success.”

Dr Chelsea: Yeah.

Nick Clement: You know, but that was not offered to me. So, you know, that's a moment where, you know, it went south and there was zero collaboration at all.

Dr Chelsea: Yeah. What about a time when it was super successful? Like what made it so good?

Nick Clement: You know, I think going back to the trust issue —

Dr Chelsea: Mm-hmm.

Nick Clement: — the teams that I have that are the most successful are the coaches that will say to me, “Whatever you think. Whatever you think we need to do to be successful, we're going to buy into it. We're going to be all in. I'm going to send you videos. I'm going to communicate. I'm going to give you everything that you're asking me for, and if there are issues down the road, I'm going to bring it to you so you can fix it or help me alleviate it or talk me off the ledge.” Those are the teams that end up being the most successful at the end, and you can see it in the product on the floor. Like, you can just tell that every piece is perfectly in place: the music, the costuming, the choreography, the performance and emotion that the kids have bought into.

Dr Chelsea: Mm-hmm. I would say the buy-in matters, yeah.

Nick Clement: You see every piece of it. So, you know, and I've had several situations like that, so there wouldn't be one in particular because I've had teams for a very long time, like most of my teams are, you know, lifelong OG teams that we hop on the bus together at the beginning of every year and we ride that bus through the entire season together.

Dr Chelsea: Yeah. Well, I imagine the buy-in is a huge piece because if the coach does, then the kids do.

Nick Clement: Oh, absolutely.

Dr Chelsea: And if you as a choreographer are going to go a little out of the box, going to be more creative, and they're willing to do that with you, and then the kids are willing to do it.

So I would love to talk about the dancers themselves for a little bit. If I'm sure sometimes dancers, especially when you're new to them — so not the OG teams, but the ones where you're new, the dancers might feel extra nervous or like it's really hard to pick up choreography. If it's a style that you're like, “I have not done this before. It feels awkward.” Any tips for choreographers or dancers about how you can help people who are new to your choreography feel more confident and comfortable as they're learning?

Nick’s Trick to Helping Dancers Feel Comfortable Working With Him – 32:09

Nick Clement: I use humor. That is my go-to.

Dr Chelsea: That doesn’t surprise me. [Laughs]

Nick Clement: And I can tell teams I've never worked with before, when I walk in, you can see the fear on their face like they're scared of me. So if I can crack a joke and make them laugh, there's an instant shift in the room to where they know, like, “Oh, he's going to be funny. Okay, I see what's happening here,” and the wall instantly comes down.

So humor has always been my tool, and I feel like it's just my tool in life in general. Like in any situation, if you can get people laughing with you, they're instantly going to be your people. So that's what I've always used.

Dr Chelsea: I can vouch for that. I think that's how we clicked was, like, you just making me laugh.

Nick Clement: Oh, absolutely, and just talking in general, like letting people know that you're just a normal person, you know? Sometimes I'll even tell a story, like a funny story, like on a break, and maybe only a handful of kids are standing around to hear the story, but then they're going to go tell all the other kids like, “Oh my God, she missed the story,” you know?

So I just think instructors and choreographers that come in and teach and walk out, you're never going to break that wall or get that buy-in. You have to communicate and talk. And, you know, if humor is not your thing, maybe you're more of an emotional person. So you tell some kind of motivational — you know, that might be your tool is motivation.

So, you know, I think finding your weapon and knowing the power in that weapon and being able to use that in the environment is like the best way to break that wall.

Dr Chelsea: That makes sense. I think that's great advice for new choreographers too, of how to — because you're right. Humor is not mine, but I appreciate it in others because it's not my approach.

Nick Clement: Right.

Dr Chelsea: You find what works for you and you find your way to connect, and I have my way of connecting, you have yours, and that it's creating that authentically whichever way it's going to happen.

So that's great for the choreographers. Any last advice for coaches or studios who are looking to hire a new choreographer, like what they should look for or do in that process?

Advice for Coaches/Studios Looking to Hire a New Choreographer – 34:38

Nick Clement: I mean, obviously reach out to people. Do your research too. Find videos of the work that choreographers have done and know what they're capable of. You know, a lot of people reach out to choreographers and just blindly book them based off of how many followers they have or what somebody else said about them. Make sure you know what you're getting into, and also relate the level of dancers that you are hiring for to what you're looking at. If somebody is only posting advanced-level dancers doing movement, know that that movement might not look the same on what you're looking to hire for. So find a choreographer that's a good fit for your dancers in that way as well.

And then when you reach out to somebody over-communicate what you're looking for. Don't just reach out and say, “Hey, I'm just looking to see how much you would charge for blank.” You know, give as much information as you possibly can because that's going to help the choreographer in their response to you. Because if you're not asking a thousand questions, you're going to get the answer to the one question you asked. “I charge this much. Thank you.” Period. So, as somebody hiring, overshare, over-communicate, do your research.

Dr Chelsea: I think that sounds great because you're right. It is so much about the match. It's not any one person or any one team. It's the match, the match on level, the match on personality, the match on your level of creativity that you're looking for, the style that your dancers want to do and what this choreographer is good at. Yeah, I think that's awesome advice.

Any other last thoughts, words of wisdom, anything we didn't talk about that you wanted to share?

Nick Clement: Yeah, I mean I really do feel like I just had a good therapy session.

Dr Chelsea: See, people say that to me.

Nick Clement: Wow.

Dr Chelsea: That's funny.

Nick Clement: It feels good to get all that out, yeah.

Dr Chelsea: I’m glad. Anytime.

Nick Clement: Hopefully something I said will, you know, help somebody think a little bit differently.

Dr Chelsea: That's the goal, right? That's the community value of the show to help build that and share that. So in the spirit of community, will you share where people can find you and your work?

Nick Clement: Yeah, I mean I still just have the OG Instagram. It's my only method that I still use, and that is @nkcchoreography. And those are my initials, by the way.

Dr Chelsea: Wonderful. Well, I'll make sure it's linked in the show notes, and if you're interested, check it out. And again, thanks, Nick. Always fun to talk to you. I appreciate you being here!


[Motivational Outro Music]

Thank you for listening to Passion for Dance! You can find all episode resources at www.chelseapierotti.com/podcast, and be sure to follow me on Instagram for more high-performance tips at @dr.chelsea.pierotti. This podcast is for passionate dance teachers and coaches who are ready to change the dance industry by creating happier, more successful dancers. I'm Dr. Chelsea and keep sharing your passion for dance with the world.

[Motivational Outro Music]

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