If you have just completed a dance degree and see yourself performing professionally, then you already know that there is nothing else you would rather do for the rest of your life. However, becoming a professional dancer takes a lot of planning and patience. You need to be resourceful, comfortable with exploring opportunities outside your comfort zone, and put yourself in front of the right people.
If the only path you see for yourself is dancing professionally, you need to think about which of the different types of dance careers would suit you best. There are opportunities to perform full-time for companies, shows, and theaters or as part of a group. Alternatively, there are teaching jobs that you can hold on the side as you build your portfolio and look for the right opportunities.
The key here is finding a career path that works for you and matches your desires, skills, abilities and schedules. If you would like to dance professionally, choosing the type of career that would suit you best will help you stay focused on your goals.
A dance reel is a compilation of videos that dancers use to showcase their skills and experience. To create the dance reel, you will need to feature your name, headshot as well as the video clips you would like prospective employers to see. You should aim to feature as many techniques as possible to demonstrate your mastery of different techniques, especially if you are a versatile dancer.
If you have not yet had the opportunity to perform anywhere, it is still acceptable to use video clips that you have created yourself. All you need is a friend, a studio space and a camera. A dance studio is preferred as you will get extras such as flattering lighting and audio equipment to play the music you would like to use in your dance reel.
There likely is at least one or two dance studios in your city and if you are in Chicago, you can book a Chicago dance studio. A Chicago dance studio leased through Pirate.com comes with everything you need, including mood lighting, sound systems, and more. Pirate.com also maintains dance studios in over 50 locations in the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States. You can book a block session or have a weekly slot arranged for you if you would like to keep practicing as you wait to hear from those you send your dance reels to.
Your dance reel should go together with a resume. Dancing might be a passion for some but if you want to do it professionally, you need to treat it like any other job. Your dance resume is very different from other resumes, but it should be clear, concise, and easy to read. Try not to include anything that does not have to do with dancing and instead list your experiences and anyone you have worked for or with in the resume. If you have a website, you can also post your dance reels on there and then include a link to the website on your resume. Even when you do this, do not forget to send your reels when sending your resume.
There are different ways of finding auditions, either using an agent or doing it yourself. If you already have an agent, they may do the hard work of finding roles and jobs for you and sending you to auditions. However, many of the people who have just graduated with a dance degree do not have an agent and have to do everything themselves.
For these people, online casting platforms are the best option. These platforms offer casting calls for different dance settings including Broadway and other productions. Keeping an eye out for open calls is another great way to find opportunities.
If you would like to join a dance group, troupe, or company, you need to network. Agents and scouts are always looking for fresh talent and the best way to get noticed is to put yourself out there. Attending conventions, competitions and dance-related events is a great way to not only showcase your skills but also meet people who can help steer you and your career in the right direction.
Choreographers and their assistants usually have a lot of information about competitions and opportunities and striking a friendship with them can help give you the boost you need. Do talk to them about recommendations for programs and agencies as well as any opportunities they may know about.
Starting a dance career is not much different from getting into any professional career, although it does come with some nuances. You will need to prepare yourself and be prepared to showcase your skills and experience to prospective employers. Do not be afraid to seek out opportunities and put yourself out there because you never know who could notice you.