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How to Become a Dancer

No matter what type of dancer you wish to be, dance instruction and training is an absolute must.

Many dancers take dance lessons for many years to prepare them for a career as a professional dancer, and continue to take dance classes almost every day of their entire careers. They may also choose to take additional lessons in music or acting lessons to become stronger performers. Once a dancer is ready to pursue a career, they prepare their basic tools and begin to go to dance auditions. Keeping in top shape and remaining informed about the dance industry will help get you hired and give you a long, successful career.

Most dancers begin training when they are quite young, and a local dance studio is the logical choice to begin dance lessons. Community centers, churches, and schools often offer lessons, too. When a student becomes advanced enough to move on to professional levels of dance, it is time to train at a professional dance school. Many of these are located in larger metropolitan areas, and some dance companies even have their own schools. Often, a dancer will have to audition in order to be accepted as a student at one of these top-level schools. Most try a summer study intensive first, before becoming a full-time permanent student. Other students prefer to study dance in college and earn a dance degree before looking for dance jobs.

Some dancers find it very helpful to supplement their dance training with other kinds of classes. Piano lessons or other types of music lessons can help a dancer to learn more about music and how to hear tempo and keep a steady rhythm.

Others choose to pursue acting lessons or singing lessons, which help to build confidence in addition to adding new skills to their repertoire. Lastly, many dancers build and increase their strength and endurance by taking Pilates classes, private dance lessons, or yoga classes. Any and all training helps a dancer prepare to look for the perfect dance job.

It's exciting to finally be ready to look for dance jobs, and there are a variety of ways to go about it. Some dancers make a list of the companies they are interested in working for, and then call them to arrange an audition or look on the company's website to find out when auditions are scheduled. Some dance magazines have audition directories or listings of casting calls. But in today's world, the internet is king in terms of finding dance jobs. There are many wonderful dance job boards and online audition directories available, making your job search easier than ever.

Before heading out to a first audition, there are a few tools to gather, such as a professional dance resume. Professional dance photographs are also usually a requirement. A glossy 8x10, either black and white or color, showing a full body shot in dance apparel will usually suffice, although some companies will also ask for a headshot. Be sure to check the details for every dance job you apply for and follow instructions carefully. It's important to maintain a professional image, so keep your dance apparel clean and free of holes, and make sure your dance shoes are comfortable and offer enough support.

The dance industry is a vital and energetic industry, and it pays to keep your information current and continue to educate yourself as a dancer. Reading dance magazines, watching dance videos and attending dance lectures, dance performances and dance conventions can provide new information and new industry contacts. You can also build your network by joining professional dance associations.

If a career as a professional dancer is your dream, there's no better time to start than now. There are many types of dance jobs available, so you will have to set clear goals when it's time to look for work. Whatever your goal may be, you will reach it one step at a time.

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