There is no set route on how to become a professional dancer but there are certainly ways to help you get to where you want to be. Most dancers start by attending a local dance class in a style that appeals to them. If a dancer has raw talent and shows promise then it’s natural for them to want to build on this and potentially become a professional dancer. If you’re keen to get into the professional dance industry here are some key steps to include into your career plan.
Train insane or remain the same!
Building on natural talent with training is a sure fire way to take you from good dancer to great dancer. As with everything in life the more you put in the more you get out! Training allows you to adapt to any style thrown your way in a class, audition or performance. Giving yourself a solid foundation and improving your stamina, flexibility and balance are just a few ways to give you the edge to get ahead. A natural gift is a great starting point but you need to condition your body and hone your skills to be at the level of a professional dancer. Don’t skip ballet and jazz class they may just give you the technique you’ll need to land that lead role. Plus increasing your overall fitness will give you the stamina to still give 100% at the end of an audition or performance.
Choose the right dance education for you
So you’ve spent your early years attending as many dance classes as possible, performed in every show and competition that has been thrown your way and now it’s time to decide what you’re actually going to do with your life. If you want to become a professional dancer attending dance college is a huge step in getting you industry ready. Choosing the right dance college can really accelerate your dance career and prepare you for life as a professional dancer. The best way to choose is by doing your research, look at your favorite dancers and make a list of their dance education, check which agencies are associated with the dance college and of course check out the faculty to make sure you’ll be learning from the best of the best. The dance industry moves quickly so don’t just rely on a colleges previous reputation, look out for forward thinking courses but make sure they have the connections to the industry. Do the colleges have open days, taster weeks or workshops that give you an insight into their training? If so it’s worth investing in them to make sure they deliver on your requirements. It’s also important to make sure that towards the end of your training with the college that they offer industry opportunities via agent showcases and performances. Do your homework before you even sign up to a college and it could have a huge impact on your future.
Improve your freestyle skills
Freestylers have slightly different options when it comes to the dance industry. Generally freestyle dancers are selected for advertisements and brand work. As a freestyler it’s key to keep pushing your raw talent and adding new exciting techniques to your craft. Don’t ever sell yourself short as a dancer as it can affect you in the long run, know your worth and agree to roles that reward you for your unique talent.
Use the internet to build your brand
If you use the internet in the right way it can dramatically change your dance future. The internet is a place to showcase, network, enter video castings and be scouted. Setting up a YouTube channel correctly is a fantastic way to showcase your talent and we advise you link it to your social media platforms for promotion. Remember the internet is forever so upload only your best videos to YouTube and use your social media platform for class videos and shorter showcases. Agents often look at social media for new talent so have everything on point and don’t include anything that may put them off representing you! It’s also a great idea to follow all of your favorite choreographers and dancers and interact with them when they post to their profiles, don’t constantly spam them with your latest video, only add something relevant to the conversation. Using hashtags is a good way to get involved with a community and search for dance opportunities, search social platforms for auditions, castings and competitions. Once you have established an online dance presence you can look to create your own business opportunities through brands, artists and creating your own dance videos.
Get a mentor
It’s the most tried and tested method of achieving success in any industry, a mentor is the ideal way to make sure your career is on track and will help you set goals to achieve your potential. A mentor should be someone who has achieved what you want to in the industry and it definitely helps if they are still active in the dance world so that they can offer relevant advice and contacts. Look for someone you admire and ask them if you can meet for a chat or even shadow them just to observe, showing an interest goes a long way. Once you have identified a mentor setting out a goal plan and asking them questions is a good way to stay focused. Accessing a mentor at the top of the industry can be near on impossible, it’s like gold dust, it’s one of the reasons we set up Brian Friedman’s Mentor Program so that dancers and choreographers can get guidance and advice from the best in the business 24/7. You can check out what we do here.
Industry classes and camps
Attending industry level classes and dance camps is a good place to get a taste of a particular choreographers style and be seen by the right people. Look for classes and camps with working choreographers so that you are being taught by someone who is currently within the industry. Choreographers often hire dancers they know and they get to know you from class so always turn up with your A game. Even as a professional dancer you should be attending classes to keep up to date with current styles and to network with choreographers to improve your chances of being selected at castings.
Choose the right dance agent
Getting the right agent is essential to a successful dance career, it can be tempting to rush into going with the first agent that shows interest or even hedging your bets with a few agents. It is much more beneficial to get an agent that is prepared to invest in you and your dance career. Where do they see you progressing in the dance industry? What can you collectively do to make sure you are giving yourself the best opportunity to be selected for dance jobs? If there isn’t an agency audition make sure you are attending classes and events that they will be attending and ask for feedback. Remember, never pay to be on an agents books.
If you enjoyed this blog, why not check out our FREE guide to setting yourself goals?