How to Be a Dancer
By Eric Hammer
So you want to know how to be a dancer? We'll assume for the
moment that you are not asking how to be a dancer because you
want to learn how to dance at your sister's wedding. Instead,
you are probably interested in becoming a professional dancer
- i.e. someone who gets paid to dance and who does it all the
time for a living.
Becoming a professional dancer requires first and foremost
a decision on what kind of a dancer you want to become. You need
to decide for example if your interest is in ballet dancing,
break dancing, ballroom dancing or some other kind of dancing.
Then, you'll need to decide on a dance school where you can
learn how to be a dancer. You'll need to be extremely agile and
willing to work hard at your profession. Professional dancing
is an extremely competitive business and you need to be totally
committed to the business in order to get the best jobs.
How Much Can You Make?
According to the bureau of labor statistics, the average salary
for a professional dancer is $15.06 per hour. Of course, keep
in mind two things with that number:
First, dance jobs are rarely permanent jobs. Instead, you'll
be going from one gig to another and as such you may not have
a steady income.
Second, professional dancers who land jobs working with big
name performers (usually for rock and roll stars who have a team
of backup dancers with them) can make significantly more than
Ways to Make More | Related Opportunities
If you love dancing but can't find jobs or simply want to
supplement your income, you could also land work as a dance instructor,
helping ordinary people to learn the steps required to dance
for various occasions. These kinds of jobs can often offer steadier
work and better pay, however the work can be pretty boring since
you are repeating basic steps for amateurs rather than doing
professional dance moves.
You may also want to consider becoming a choreographer, which
is not only a slightly better paying job ( a little over $20
per hour according to the Bureau of Labor statistics) but also
a job where your creativity can shine through since you get to
come up with the moves that the dancers under your care will
Finally, keep in mind that if you want learn how to be a dancer,
you also need to learn how to have extreme patience. Dancing
is a repetitive business where you'll be doing the same steps
over and over again in or to master them.
Qualifications / Requirements
Typically, you'll need to attend a dance school if you want
to become a professional dancer. While any school will get you
certified, those wishing to get the top jobs should audition
for some of the more prestigious schools such as Julliard.
Start by studying dance moves that others do and trying to
mimic them. Get to know how people move their bodies when they
dance and then look for a dance school where you can continue
your studies. Don't go to the local ballroom dancing school either
unless you want to become a teacher yourself. You need much more
experience than they would be likely to offer you.
Check out these helpful resources on how to be a dancer:
Bureau of Labor
Statistics - Use the their search box (search "dancer")
to locate information on what it takes and what the wages currently
About.com: Become a Dancer - Lots of useful
advice which offers much more detailed information on how to
be a dancer.
Ballet: How to Become a Dancer - A bit annoying to navigate
since each piece of information is in a single paragraph on a
separate page, however this site also has some very good information
for anyone who wants to know how to be a dancer.