How to Break into Performance Art

Performance Art

Whether you want to be an actor, musician, dancer, or another type of performance artist, you probably already how challenging it is to break into this extremely competitive industry. Few can achieve a high-ranking status that equates to earning millions of dollars. In fact, according to some of the latest statistics available, the median hourly wage for an actor was just $22.15, in part because many of them only work part-time. Remember that talent can only take you so far if you hope to make a living in performance art. You’ll need a lot more than that – these attributes can increase the odds of being successful. 

The Ability to Market Yourself in Performance Art

Because many people who work in performance art are self-employed, it’s essential that you can market yourself. That means strong networking and sales skills – you’ll be selling yourself. Many of the jobs are found via connections and merely knowing the right person at the right time. One of the best things you can do is to attend industry events and network like crazy. Take courses and workshops to meet like-minded people.  Join professional associations and consider signing up for an app where people can hire talent directly. These days there’s an app for everything and people can search for terms like “find entertainment near me” to find and hire you.

In Performance Art, You Must Have Plenty of Confidence

You’ll not only need the confidence to market yourself and be successful in interviews and auditions. You’ll also need to be on the stage in front of an audience, which can be somewhat nerve-wracking. While it’s natural to feel nervous, as a professional performer, you’ll have to have the confidence to overcome that.

Be Resilient, Have Self-Discipline and Stamina

Nearly everyone who works in performance art will have to experience rejection, usually many times over, as well as plenty of criticism. It can be crushing to some, which is why it’s so important to be resilient and tenacious, taking rejection and criticism and using it to better your craft. You’ll need plenty of self-discipline too. You’ll need to show up on time and give every performance your all, or you won’t last long in the business. Stamina is a must as well, as performers must work long hours during rehearsals. Much of your time will be spent practicing and improving, and you may need to take on an additional job to pay the bills. 

Know how to Organize Your Time Well and Be Flexible

Those who manage to break into performance art need to have very strong time management and organization skills. You’ll need to play many roles, including arranging travel, keeping track of rehearsal timetables, attending auditions, promotional engagements, and so on, perhaps while juggling a second or even a third job. Many of those who work in performing arts supplement their income by teaching or taking on administrative roles. Being flexible can help increase chances of success too. For example, if you’re a dancer, being able to take on a street dancing job and perform classical ballet can be a significant benefit, just like actors may plan the villain in one role and a hero in another.

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About Heather Erickson

I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. Since doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace. My books are available at

The Memory Maker’s Journal 

Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer

Facing Cancer as a Parent: Helping Your Children Cope with Your Cancer

I also blog about living with cancer at Facing Cancer with Grace.

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One comment on “How to Break into Performance Art

That has to be difficult. I would assume it would have to be something you love to go into it. I would hope, anyway… (Hopefully, this comment won’t be flagged as “a spam” as my comment on the last post was. Sigh.)

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