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Culture, Music & Performing Arts careers

Dance

The truth about a career in the dance industry…

From ballet and breakdancing, to tango and tap, the world is literally at your feet when it comes to careers in dance. However, it’s not just about busting some moves, cutting some shapes or delicately performing an arabesque. Keep reading and find out what else you could do in the world of dance!

If you work in the world of dance, it’s not going to be a simple case of climbing the career ladder. Essentially, there is no pre-determined route that you can follow. It’s going to be an exciting ride full of peaks and troughs, changes and surprises. You might even end up stepping back from the performance side of things and pursuing other avenues, such as teaching dance to other budding performers.

How can I succeed as a professional dancer?

You’re going to have to be versatile. Dancers are often asked to bust different moves across a range of different genres, ranging from contemporary dance, hip-hop and salsa, to classical ballet and musical theatre. It’s certainly good to have a speciality, but it’s hugely beneficial to be able to turn your hand to a variety of genres. You’ll be dancing on the ceiling in no time, if you’re multi-talented!

You’ve got to have the confidence, tenacity and ambition to get out there and promote yourself. There’s no point just skipping the light fandango in your living room or practicing your pirouettes in a private dance studio. You’ve got to make things happen for yourself.

In order to progress, you’ll need to be open-minded and take constructive criticism on board. If you want to get into performance, a dance portfolio is an absolute must. This could include action shots and DVDs of you dancing, as well as an up-to-date CV, a list of achievements and a broad range of publicity photos.

What other dance-related career paths are available?

Performance is one thing, but many dancers will embark on other dance-related career paths too.

You might become a choreographer like Louie Spence leading the pack at Pineapple Dance Studios; you might be teaching dance at a performing arts college; or you might be working in the community to get young people more involved in dance.

Another option is to get into the administrative, marketing or management side of working for a dance company. This could certainly be a good way of getting your rhythmic foot on the dancing ladder, especially if you love dance, but you have two-left feet and lack the technical skill and talent to perform.

You could even look into physiotherapy, where you would specialise in helping to rehabilitate injured dancers.

Anything else you do on top of performance will help you to make contacts and build up your network. This is a perfect way of getting your name known in the industry and promoting yourself.  

So if you fancy yourself a dancing queen or the original Billy Elliott, and Dirty Dancing rates as one of your favourite films of all time, on the whole planet, in the entire universe, then a career in dance just might be the one for you!