Faculty Assistant Sheila Kaiser on tour with The PULSE
Sheila Kaiser began attending dance conventions when she was about 10 years old. A decade later, the 20-year-old Georgia native is an Elite Protégé with The PULSE on Tour. (The Elite Protégé title is awarded to select regional scholarship winners who then work as assistants with the convention). Monday through Friday, Sheila’s at the Georgia Institute of Technology studying to be a civil engineer. But on the weekends, she’s in class at The PULSE, assisting faculty members such as Wade Robson and Brian Friedman! We caught up with Sheila to find out what it takes to land a job working for a dance convention.
DS: How did you get the Elite Protégé position?
If the faculty notice you at a regional city, you’ll get a Protégé scholarship. Then you come to NYC for the summer PULSE workshop; there’s an interview process and you perform a choreographed piece for the faculty.
DS: What does it take to get the faculty’s attention?
The faculty want to see their choreography, but they also want to see your own spice and style because that’s what makes every dancer different. I was taking all the classes and making sure that I got the choreography right away. You don’t necessarily always have to stand in the front–I didn’t. Going up to the teacher after class and saying thank you also means a lot.
DS: What’s your role during the convention classes?
SK: As an assistant, I’m always thinking about getting the choreography right away so that the students can watch me. My goal is always to get it the first or second time the teacher does it. We don’t know the choreography beforehand unless the teacher repeats it from a previous weekend. But if it’s something new, we’re learning it on the stage as the dancers are learning it on the floor.
DS: What’s your favorite thing about being an Elite Protégé?
Interacting with the dancers, parents and teachers attending. Working with the staff has given me a whole new respect for The PULSE company. I also like people telling me that they enjoy watching me dance. That’s the most rewarding thing you can get from a weekend.
DS: What advice do you have for young dancers who want to work as dance convention assistants?
Have a positive attitude and take class. If you ever want to assist choreographers like the ones on The PULSE on Tour, always have that goal in mind and eventually you’ll get it.
Photo courtesy of The PULSE on Tour and ProPix Photography