Think Again: 3 Dance Career Myths That Aren't True!

 

Are you the dancer who's been training your entire life but then decides to pursue a career in something completely unrelated? Or are you the person who fell in love with dance later in life, and you think you've missed your chance to make it your career?

There are a number of scenarios like these that keep dancers from pursuing their dreams of turning pro.  The interesting thing is that many of the reasons that keep people away from a professional dance life simply aren't true.

There's a decent amount of educating that needs to take place when it comes to pursuing dance as a profession.  Most people have no clue about what it takes to build, what the day-to-day looks like, or whether sustainability is even possible. Continue to reading to discover the truth about 3 common dance career myths.

You have to move to another city to start your career. 

MYTH:

Not necessarily.  The truth is that you can be a professional dancer anywhere in the world.  It's the type of work that you'd like to do that will determine where you'll need to be.  

TRUTH:  

 

Most people assume they'll need to relocate to LA or NY to jump start their dance career, but your dance career may very well be right in your own backyard.  Before you start packing your bags, consider the type of dance career you're trying to build.  Do you want to be a commercial dancer for artists, TV, or Film? Want to pursue musical theater?  What about ballet or modern companies? Or even a teaching career?

Depending on what you're after, you may be drawn to certain cities, but chances are that you could at least get started exactly where you are.  Check out the dance scene in your current city first.  For training and networking, research local studios, or attend one of the many touring conventions that take place year round.  For work, check out your local arts organizations, theaters, companies, and schools to see who may be searching for dance artists.  Still need help getting started? Then take a look at these 25+ job boards for dancers to see which organizations are in your area.

 

You're too old to pursue a dance career.

MYTH:

Dance doesn't discriminate. The truth is that if your body is able and your heart is willing, there's nothing stopping you, but YOU 

TRUTH:

 

There are plenty of pros who got a late start in their dance life and went on to create careers that they love.  Again, the type of dance career you choose may play a big part in the direction you take and how your career will ultimately take shape, but your age shouldn't be the thing that stops you. 

If you're feeling insecure about your age, just follow your heart and your feet wherever they may lead you.  Always start with training and networking in your local studios.  While you're planting yourself in your local dance scene, see what opportunities start opening up to you.  You may find that choreographing or teaching works for you, or you may even find your way into performance opportunities.  Of course, you also have the option to create your own opportunities by producing your own works, classes, or events. Wherever you end up, just be sure that you're being led by your passion and skills rather than by your fear of being too old.

 

You won't be able to make any money as a professional dancer.

MYTH:

Creating a sustainable dance career takes time as well as a whole lot of hustle and heart, but so does every other freelance career.  The truth is that there are plenty of ways to generate income as a dancer if you're open and resourceful.

TRUTH:

 

 

Let's make a clear distinction here.  Making money as a professional dancer does in fact take work, but it's NOT impossible.  To earn a living as a dancer, first be knowledgeable about what rates you should be charging to make the work worth your while.  If you don't have an agent to help with rates, you can always start by calculating your personal hourly rate.  Once you're clear on rates, be smart about how you manage your money by budgeting and being mindful of taxes

The takeaway here is that there are plenty of myths about dance life floating around posing as facts, when really they're just limiting beliefs and fear of the unknown.  If you're certain that building a dance career is for you, then make the choice, do your research, trust the process, and get to work.


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