Whenever you watch shows like Dancing with the Stars, World of Dance, or So You Think You Can Dance, you’d think that being a professional dance artist is glamorous and fun. While it can be both fun and glamorous to a certain extent, there’s more to being a pro that meets the eye. And while talent and luck can help open doors in the business for you, it takes more than that to have longevity in the industry.
6 Things to Take Note of If You Want to Be a Professional Dancer for Life
1. Never Stop Learning.
To make it as a dancer and stay in the business for a long time, you need to have a learner’s mindset. A career in dance isn’t hinged on how skilled a performer you are. It goes beyond talent and skill.
The dance landscape is continually evolving and if you fail to keep up with the latest updates on teaching, technique, disciplines, and styles, you will soon become irrelevant.
2. Hone your Craft and be your Best Version Every Time.
They say hard work will beat talent any day. This is especially true in the dynamic world of dance
There are a lot of very talented and highly-skilled dancers who are still out there trying to make it in the business. On the other hand, there are also a lot of less talented individuals who have gotten a break because of their grit, determination, and discipline in improving themselves and constantly elevating their craft.
More than your talent and skills, it is hard work and proper work ethics that will get you and keep you in the game.
Keep taking classes. Attend workshops. Don’t miss out on training. Keep yourself in shape in and out of season.
3. Pick Up Other Useful Skills.
A career in dance does not guarantee financial security. A lot of artists involved in the performing arts are holding down regular jobs that will help sustain them in their pursuit of careers as professional dance artists.
A lot of professional dancers have jobs on the side to help make ends meet. While some of them work freelance in other industries as a content creator or an experienced chiropractor, others get jobs that are related to the industry such as a production designer or costume maker.
Find other skills that can make you money and use that to fuel your passion for dance. That being said, one of the most important life skills any professional dancer should have is money management skills. Learn how to handle your finances well and, please, get insurance. You must also have a back-up plan for when you finally retire your dancing shoes.
4. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle.
As a dance artist, you need to keep in mind that your body is your main tool. If you misuse it or abuse it, you can say goodbye to your terpsichorean dreams.
It is essential for any dancer to take care of their bodies and live as healthily as possible. A healthy lifestyle will add more years to your career as a professional and turn you into a better artist.
5. Learn the Science Behind the Dance.
Although dance is technically categorized as an art form, it is not just about expression and artistry. There are also some very vital sciences involved in the craft.
The craft has plenty of technicalities that are advantageous to any aspiring professional. Proper training regimens, drills, exercises, warm-ups, stretches, style foundations, vocals, choreography, dynamics, and a lot more are a big chunk of the trade. Those who are serious enough to learn the science and discipline beyond art and expression have greater chances of making it in the business.
6. Become as Versatile as you Possibly can.
A long-term career in the dance industry is almost impossible without versatility. One of the things that give professional dance artists and choreographers longevity in the business is their ability to adapt to specific project needs. One can only have so much hip hop or ballet.
Dancers with a seemingly never-ending supply of projects and gigs have learned to be versatile in their craft and explore genres beyond their specializations.
As mentioned earlier, some dancers can easily transition from being a dancer to a costume or set designer. Some can wear a teacher’s hat or take on the role of an assistant director. Others can easily make the switch from one genre to another, depending on the project’s needs.
The bottom line is, you cannot expect to have a fruitful and productive career as a dancer without a willingness to step out of your comfort zone.
A career in dance is not for everyone and definitely not for the faint of heart. It takes a special breed of people to enjoy a long and successful career as dance artists and live life to the full. Do you have what it takes?