Move your body to the rhythm of a career in this exciting field
Dance school is a dream of many children, especially young girls. However, many people give up their dreams of dancing in favor of a more practical (but far less rewarding) career path. But if your dream persists, and you want to shoot for it, your first step must be proper training.
The peak years for development as a dancer are the teen years. If you want to become a professional dancer, likely you will have had some type of formal training in your younger years.
When it comes to professional dance training and choosing a school, the most important thing to consider is the faculty. You want to study with the best, so that your training is well rounded and respected. Many professional ballet dancers choose to teach so that they can share their talents with others and help build the next great dancer.
Most community colleges prominently advertise their dance faculty. They want to attract students to their program by highlighting the talent and dedication to be found. However, students should also take the time to look into which agencies or accrediting bodies monitor the school to ensure they're getting the highest quality and approved training.
When evaluating dance schools, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
- What are the values of the school (e.g. as reflected in use of costumes)? How do these values match up with yours?
- Is the school certified? The fact is that anyone can open a dance school. This means that not all schools provide a valuable education.
- How big are the classes? How much individual attention will the instructor be able to give?
- What is the quality of the floor? Most professional dance studios have a "sprung floor." This is very important for cushioning feet and protecting against strains and injury.
If you're serious about a career in dance, bear in mind that the competition for jobs in the dance and choreography industry is very intense. Though there are many different forms of professional dance (hip hop, ballet, etc.), jobs are far from plentiful. If you're able to succeed in dance, you'll need a lot of natural talent, great training and a bit of luck as well.
The career span of most dancers is very short. Often, by the time dancers reach the age of thirty, they have already been essentially phased out of the industry in favor of younger and more limber dancers. In a given year, less than 50,000 dancers find full-time work. Those who do earn (on average) about $22,000 per year. The top dancers, however, earn a great deal more.