Amid the lights, costumes, and applause that define the world of professional dance, an essential role often remains behind the curtain. They may not execute grand jetés or pirouettes, but their contribution is vital to every performance.
They are the managers, the unseen choreographers who ensure the show goes on and shines.
The role of management in professional dancing is a complex dance itself, balancing administrative logistics, financial responsibility, talent development, and team cohesion. It’s a role that demands a unique blend of business acumen and an understanding of the arts.
Marine Fritschy is a professional dancer and choreographer who has worked on stages worldwide. At 18, she was enrolled as the principal dancer in two dance companies – Silva Ricard Ballet and Le Ballet Intemporel.
She went on to run stage shows, including ice-skater Philippe Candeloro’s spectacular Hello and Goodbye’ which was held at ‘La Grande Halle de la Villette in Paris.
Marine holds the Diploma of Classical Dance and is a respected judge and panelist of many teen dance competitions across France.
She says at the heart of a dance manager’s role is the task of talent management. This involves everything from recruiting and retaining talent to overseeing training and development: “They need to ensure dancers receive the necessary training, foster an environment that encourages growth, and manage contracts and negotiations.”
Marine says managers also oversee the physical and mental well-being of the dancers: “You have to coordinate with health professionals to ensure that the physical strain of professional dancing is properly managed,” says Marine.
“Dancing can also be incredibly taxing on the mind and body. On the mental health front, I have always aimed to cultivate an environment where dancers can openly communicate about stress or anxiety and seek assistance when necessary.”
Management’s role extends beyond the dancers to the entire production process. This includes coordinating with choreographers, liaising with production designers, and ensuring that all the pieces fit together in the complex puzzle of a dance performance.
Financial management is another critical aspect of the role. From budgeting productions to overseeing payroll and managing contracts, these professionals ensure the financial health of dance companies. They are often involved in fundraising efforts, sourcing sponsorships, and exploring new revenue streams.
Additionally, managers in professional dance are instrumental in strategic planning. They collaborate with artistic directors and board members to outline the company’s direction and future projects: “Usually this can involve identifying new opportunities, expanding the company’s reach, or steering it through challenges and changes in the industry,” says Marine.
“In my experience, strategic planning is often key to keeping everything running smoothly on and off stage.”
One woman who knows about Fritschy’s skill is Aude Vaillard. Now a full-time professional dancer and choreographer, they have worked together for six years.
Aude says she has been a “kind and supportive” teacher: ‘Marine has an encyclopaedic knowledge of dance, its history, and how to progress. She delivers everything with kindness and consideration.”
Aude adds: “I can say without a doubt that Marine has given me all the keys to my success. And her in-depth ability has enabled me to be the teacher I am today.”
It was in 2018 that she decided she wanted to join a dance school: “Thanks to Marine, I’m now a choreographer, dance teacher, and dancer, and I live from my passion. She always wants the best for everyone, she always finds the solution for every problem.”
Silva Ricard is a choreographer, ballet master, and teacher. She has known Marine since she was four years old.
She says she was aware of her talent when she first saw her: ‘When Marine set foot in my dance studio, it was clear that she was made for the life of an artist,” says Silva.
She adds: “My multidisciplinary training that Marine followed made it possible to highlight her ease in adapting to any situation and excelling in it. When she was little I made her skip a grade. She had the level of the older students. At 16, it was an obvious choice to ask her to join my company.”
Silva says Marine is an upright, hard-working, caring person who always puts the interests of her students first: “Respect is a golden word for Marine. Her perseverance is to be honored, and above all, her ability to analyze situations and get the best out of them.”