It’s National Careers week, and some of you may be at that vital stage where you are leaving school or college and are starting to think about your future career. The first thing we will say is DO SOMETHING YOU ENJOY! So much of your life will be spent in education training for your job or working, you might as well follow your passion. Don’t have one yet? In that case, explore your options, try new things, find what you love. You have time, you are still young. Try not to feel pressured just because all your friends know what they want from life, or are achieving their grades but you aren’t. Not everybody is academic or has their life mapped out, that is ok!
We are guessing that YOU love dance though because you are reading this! However, just because you love dance, it doesn’t necessarily mean you NEED to be a performer. There are plenty of other careers in dance, or involving dance, to explore…
- Become a performer – Usually the first thing most people think of when they love dance and want to do it as a career. To be a performer (In theatre/music videos/as a backing dancer/dancing in a professional company) you need to train hard both in and out of the studio. Training hard in a variety of dance styles will help you become a versatile performer. It is also important to look after yourself because your body is your tool!
- Become a choreographer – If you love creating rather than being in the spotlight, you might consider becoming a choreographer. A choreographer makes up dances. Either on themselves or other dancers. Of course, choreographers can also perform and performers can also choreograph, but some people choose a specific route. Some of the things you can choreograph include; dance companies, music artists, TV programmes, advertisements, etc.
- Become a teacher – If you enjoy helping others progress, a dance teacher could be your way forward. You can teach in the community, in schools, for other companies, or even start up your own. The qualifications and legal documents you need will vary depending if you are teaching in the community or an establishment such as a school.
- Be a dance reviewer/blogger – If you enjoy watching, reading, talking and writing about dance, you could think about becoming a dance blogger or vlogger. Simply start writing and posting! This can be on your own online platform, for a website, or even for a newspaper.
- Work behind the scenes – If being in the spotlight isn’t your thing, or you are creative in other areas besides dance, you could consider a career in avenues such as stage management, lighting, sound, photography, costume, set design, usher, producing, events, marketing, dancewear, etc.
- Become an arts administrator – If you enjoy organising things, are good with finances and computer systems, you might want to consider becoming an arts administrator. This typically involves working within a company, understanding their vision and helping them operate from day to day. Duties can include sending emails, organising company rehearsals, keeping track of bookings, organising fundraisers, etc. As an administrator you will be behind the scenes but still very much involved in the field. Gaining some experience in admin will also help those thinking of starting up their own group or company.
- Be your own boss – Many dance artists are freelancers. This means you don’t have an employer, but instead you are self-employed. You will need to source your own work which can be tricky when you first start up. That is why it is important to NETWORK. As a freelancer you can move around and do lots of “jobs” and aren’t limited to one company. There is a lot more freedom, however being your own boss is tough, you will need to be motivated, determined, resilient, creative and flexible. Not having a boss to tell you what to do means YOU must be that person! It can also take a while to build your name and reputation, so patience is a must too! There are lots of dancers, teachers, choreographers out there…take time to find your style and niche – what makes YOU different?
So, those are just some of the career paths you can choose to go down when it comes to dance. We recommend you try to gain as much voluntary experience as possible in the above areas to really see what you enjoy or don’t enjoy, then research the relevant opportunities, training, qualifications that will help you get there. Plus remember, there are dancers who decide to work a regular 9-5 job then dance for fun in the evenings. Just because you love dance it doesn’t mean you need to have a career in it. However, we hope we have helped open your mind to the possibilities out there if you are seriously thinking about a career in dance.
Please feel free to share your thoughts or ask questions on our Facebook page!