To become a professional dancer you need to work extremely hard and be dedicated to the craft. As you’ve probably already discovered, dancing is not easy. Dancers give years of their lives to be a master. If you love dancing and spend every waking hour thinking, living and breathing dance then you’re probably considering going professional. But perhaps you’re a little hesitant or uncertain if you have the skills required to take it to the next level. If you want to turn professional then you really have to excel. If you’re talented there are a lot of opportunities. Dancers can perform on stage, television, musicals, and on cruise ships just to name a few.
However, don’t expect your dance skills to be the only factor in getting a job. As an amateur, you can do well with just natural born talent but that’s not enough if you want to be a professional. A famous dance producer isn’t going to discover you in rehearsal or on Youtube. You need to go to a lot of auditions, face a lot of rejection, and show a willingness to go the extra mile.
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A professional dancer should get compensated for their work. However, if you’re starting out, you might have to work without getting paid or get paid very little. There are many reasons you might want to work for free and an equal amount not to. Working for free can give you opportunities and experience you might not have gotten if you only sought paid gigs. Ask yourself if the experience is worth more than money to you at this point. If it is, then go for it. If you feel like you’re just being taken advantage of as free labour then perhaps you might decide against it. Everybody will have to come to that decision by themselves.
A professional dancer is much like a professional hockey or football player than a regular nine to five job. There is a lot that’s out of our control. You don’t know who might hire you, fire you. It’s also wise to have a backup plan in case something happens. Many dancers’ careers end in injuries so you never know how long you will be able to dance for. Don’t save the joy entirely for the stage. Instead, dance like every moment might be your last. That way you leave everything on the stage and you won’t have any regrets.
If you’re determined to be a professional dancer and still don’t feel ready, rest assured nobody feels 100% ready to turn pro. It’s a difficult and risky venture with a lot of highs and lows. You need to be flexible whether it’s with a new dance company, a new partner, or new choreography. Regardless, you should feel proud that you’re following your passion. Not very many people have the courage to really go for it. The important thing is to enjoy the journey you’re on.