After years of training, a large financial investment, and exposure to a wide range of teachers, the time to move past your dance training into a career is the next inevitable step. Knowing your options as well as the best fit for your talents and training could help you land the job of your dreams. The options are vast and varied. Read on to see how your personality, style, and skill set fit each option.
If you have a unique look, a tone of tenacity and thick skin, then the west may have gigs for you galore. A strong background in jazz and hip hop will help you fair well against your competition. Once you go to the coast, you'll want to get connected with a training school complete with agents and a intensional training program. There you can refine your skills, learn from great artist, and find out about audition opportunities.
Pros: These jobs may give you small levels of fame as you dance along side musicians or land commercials. It is exciting and will help everyday to be different and keep your dance refreshing.
Cons: Work may be inconsistent and you might need to take on extra side work such as waiting tables. Competition is fierce and will require you to have thick skin.
If you are more classically trained, can sing, dance, and act, then you may be Broadway bound. Although almost all dancing jobs are risky, the east coast will provide more stability if you catch a break and get in. Ballet companies and Broadway opportunities are vast on the east coast.
Pros: Dance jobs are more consistent and often have contracts so you don't have to spend your time constantly auditioning. Training will be classic in nature and help to build a strong technique if you decide to change paths later you can never have too much training.
Cons: Ballet and pointe work can be very demanding on the body and cause pain during and after your career. Good health, sleep, and care for your physical self will be imperative.
If you have ever visited Disney World you have seen the performers and may have thought, wow how fun! That is exactly what you will get when you contract with a theme park or cruise line. The budgets for costumes are usually consistent and big making for great job security and a having a blast when working. Even if you don't make it past an audition, this is not usually as cut throat and offers a great auditioning experience.
Pros: Auditions are easy to find and well advertised. If you do land the job you will have a blast every time you go to work. Although expectations are high, you will love the structure of this fun loving job. You will also most likely have a ton of young adoring eyes every time you dance which is a huge plus.
Cons: You may feel over trained at times as some of the dancing may be in parades and very simple.
College Dance Teams
Maybe you are a traditionalist and love a good education. Why not have your cake and eat it too? You can major, minor, or use your training as an extra curricular. Some collages have extensive programst that can prepare you for other professional paths listed here. Others may barely have a good effort or might be in the first stages of begining a dance program. Either way it's best to perform a college visit and check out all of your options.
Pros: This gives you time to earn credits for careers outside of dance so that when your body fails or you change your mind you have a good solid back up plan. It also gives you time to mature if you feel you are not ready to go out on your own and risk it all.
Cons: This may delay your best dancing years. A dancers career is short in comparison to most jobs.
Classical ballet training is the only thing that can prepare you for the ballet route. Even if you become a contemporary ballet dancer, you can't escape the hours and years of training required to get accepted into a ballet company. Competition is still high but you can look for companies in various locations and sizes to increase your chances for a job. Auditioning is expensive and requires traveling. It is best to work with a ballet teacher who has a previous career in ballet to increase your chances of success for this route.
Pros: These jobs are consistent and usually you have a contract that spells out the terms and length so you know exactly what to expect. You will also be the ballerina you've always dreamed about which is a typical dream that can date back to early childhood. Not many other jobs allow you to wear a tiara and tutu well into adult hood.
Cons: The path is very difficult and pointe work can cause lasting damage to your feet and body. It is very competitive and pays very little unless you have worked for a long time and have extraordinary skill.
Local & Digital Gigs
Like many musicians you can take control of your own destiny by performing locally and on camera. Dancers use social media, you tube, and instagram to find their fame. Modern dancers often make artwork in the form of media and work alongside musicians and visual artists to create works of art.
Pros: You don't have to wait to be discovered to do what you love. Start looking for ways to dance for local companies, shows, or guest spots.
Cons: You may never gain the recognition you deserve because the market is so inundated with all kids of dance and performances.
This is not an exhaustive list, but it gives an idea of what some jobs have to offer and what interests you most.