Careers in Dance

Pursuing a career as a dance instructor, choreographer or dancer requires many of the same skills and tasks as other industries, but there are specific ways you can be sure to always put your best foot forward, so to speak.

Because dance jobs are physically demanding, it almost goes without saying that physical fitness and proper nutrition are job requirements. But these days, dancers must also be savvy businesspeople and know the ins and outs of business marketing strategy and promotion, and make every effort to grow and evolve personally so their classes remain dynamic, fresh, with a following of loyal students.

Most dancers and instructors spend a good part of their day on the dance floor, teaching, practicing and demonstrating proper dance technique. They need to keep their energy and enthusiasm up at all times. Many find that adding other types of exercise, such as Pilates or yoga, can substantially improve their strength and make them better dancers. Eating right and getting adequate sleep can help keep your energy level high…and make your career last longer.

Every dance instructor needs to continue to expand knowledge and to grow as a teacher. Reading dance books, dance magazines and trade journals or even watching dance videos regularly can give you new ideas, which will keep your classes interesting (and you interested in continuing to teach). Attending lectures or dance workshops and dance conventions can also be invaluable in helping you to build your career.

Business marketing skills, marketing strategy and promotion are huge factors in the success of any career. Most instructors utilize a variety of print marketing materials, including business cards, flyers and brochures. Maintaining a mailing list is imperative. Also consider listing your classes in your town’s recreation department catalogs, since it is free advertising and mailed directly to residents’ homes. Online marketing tools include personal websites, studio websites, listings in dance directories, and taking advantage of social media such as Twitter to keep students up-to-date. Be sure to expand your network and keep abreast of industry developments by joining list servs and online forums devoted to dance.

Working with people is a major part of your job, so expanding your social horizons and keeping a professional image will help you succeed. Consider joining local business networking groups, and attend social functions regularly to meet new people. You can build your reputation by making looking for opportunities to make public appearances in the form of lectures, performances or demonstrations at local schools, businesses, churches, festivals and community events.

Keep your finances and records in order so you can track your earnings, profits and expenses. This will save you lots of time and energy at tax season, and all of your purchases such as educational materials, and dance equipment and supplies are write-offs.

If you are a dance studio owner, then studio management software can be invaluable in helping you to keep your business running smoothly.

You never know when new opportunities might arise, so it is always a good idea to keep your professional dance resume updated. A professional dance resume should include a comprehensive summary of all relevant dance experience, including training, performing experience, and any other related experience such as teaching. If you have received any awards or merits, be sure to list those, too. Always include your name and contact information, and age, height & weight if applying as a performer.

Check online job boards, dance directories, and company websites regularly if you are job searching, and have your resume available to make your application process efficient. It’s also a good idea to have photographs of yourself in dance attire and a professional headshot.

A career in dance can be quite lucrative, especially if you take the time to do it right. It begins with treating yourself right, so you can enjoy a long career, and ends with treating your career right, which means money in the bank.

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