Whether you think about Ann Widdecombe getting dragged along the floor in Strictly Come Dancing or Beth Tweddle sprinting up to the vault, this area of sport and recreation is incredibly popular as a career and as a source of entertainment.
It is also extremely competitive! Talent is everything within this industry. You can practice and practice until you drop, but if the ability isn’t there, you’ll have to look elsewhere for a career ladies and gents.
How do I get started as a dancer or gymnast?
Whether it’s ballet, jazz, tap, modern, ballroom, rumba, tango or salsa, all types of dance bring happiness and wellbeing to everyone involved. People are prepared to pay incredibly high prices to see the best dancers on stage in some of the most extravagant productions in the world. As a result, you need to be an exceptional dancer to stand a chance of earning a living from this profession. So where to begin?
Most professional dancers started at their local dance school when they were very young, but that doesn’t mean you’ve missed the boat if you’re a teenager or a young adult.
The main way to get started is by getting involved in amateur productions that give you a flavour of the real thing. From here, enrolment onto a professional course or entry into a dance school is the next step.
If you’re good enough, hunting down and acquiring an agent is the next move. Agents are your route to actually getting work. These guys make connections with the right people, organise auditions for you and (if it all goes well) secure you regular work.
Gymnasts follow a somewhat different route. Most professional gymnasts are performing at international events by the age of 14 and retire in their mid-20s. It’s a very intense, short career that requires a huge amount of dedication.
What if I want a less direct role?
Aside from actually being a gymnast or dancer, there are many other options in this sector. For instance, teachers are required to ensure that the top athletes are performing to the best of their ability and that future stars are on the right path.
To become a coach, you must be an excellent ‘people person’ and an absolute expert in whichever form of dancing or gymnastics you specialise in. It also helps to be a bit of a taskmaster! To be a top coach, you will need to undertake a variety of courses to bolster and prove your abilities.
If you’re looking to teach in private schools, being able to demonstrate that you can teach well is generally sufficient. However, if you want to teach in state schools you will need to attain Qualified Teaching Status (QTS). A degree is required here, usually followed by a postgraduate qualification in teaching, often referred to as the PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education).
Given the stress and strain that the body is placed under during dance and gymnastic activity, physiotherapists also play a big part in this world. For more information on becoming a physio, head over to the Medical & Physical Therapy Staff subsector.
Reckon you can dance your way to success? Are you ready to backflip right on to your dream career ladder? If so, the world of dancing and gymnastic careers awaits…