12 Things I wish I knew before becoming A Professional Dancer
I remember when I was starting out, going into the real dance world how exciting and scary it can be. But sometimes I wish I had someone to tell me all the tricks of the trades from the start. The more you go on the more you will learn, but it is always good to get an idea of what your about to face. One of my best pieces of advice I share with anyone who wants to be a professional or who is about to go into the real world, is that it isn’t a race. It will most likely take you some time to get to where you want to be and importantly, that is ok. The most important thing is to really enjoy the experiences along the way. You may find yourself on a little bit of a rollercoaster but the more you stay strong and keep fighting for what you love to do, you will eventually get there. So I would love to share with you all, my top 12 tips I wish I knew before becoming a professional dancer.
- Be Unique
I think this is self explained, basically don’t be a sheep. Make yourself stand out. For example at an audition wear something bright or something that isn’t the latest fashion trend that everyone is going to be wearing, it will make the casting panel remember you and to help make you stand out from the crowd. Don’t follow how someone in the studio with you is dancing, add your own flare and style
- It Is All Part of The Set Up
Every mistake, every push, every fumble, and every set back was a set up. They will all make you stronger and fight more to motivate you to push forward to the next step. So just push through but harder.
- Be You
Don’t try to follow in someone else’s footsteps completely. This is your journey and it is going to be different from everyone else, but that does not mean that you won’t get to your dream job, you just may take a different path to get there. So don’t copy others and try to duplicate their success. Everyone’s path is different that is what makes us all unique.
- You Aren’t Just An Artist, Your Now Also A Business Person
Success is always self-created, I learned this very quickly that waiting for someone else to create my success or hand it to me on a plate was never going to happen. The only way to truly ignite an amazing career is to go out and do it yourself. Any meaningful success will always need to start with you creating your own opportunities first.
I learnt this quite late I think and I wish had the full understanding of this from the start. But being a professional dancer means that you are now selling yourself as a brand. Your look, your talent, your style. You need to understand how to market yourself, pitch yourself, self producing and one of the most important things is networking. Getting to know people in the industry who are established is a huge plus. At the end of the day, 9 times out of 10 it is not about what you know but who you know. Now I am not telling you to go out there and be stuck up, fake and just to use people, but get to know people this is so important, but always be yourself. And it is so much fun getting to know new people.
- Be Patient
Patience is going to be your best friend in this industry. Don’t expect it to all come at once, I know I may sound horrible when saying that but it is just very true. Every ones journey is at a different speed. Always remember it is not a sprint it is a marathon. Enjoy it.
- Don’t Take It Personally
Never take anything in the industry to heart. I think you have to be very strong to take the let downs and ‘no’ after ‘no’ after ‘no’ after ‘no’. You won’t get the job not because they think you aren’t good enough but it all comes down to things like a certain height, look, even hair color. Sometimes it can be even more silly than this and because they already have someone in mind but they aren’t 100% they are available until the last minute. So never take it personally… it’s not you, it’s them!
- Be A Sponge
Ok, not literally look like a sponge. But I mean you are going to work with some amazing people that has some great knowledge and stories, soak it all in and learn from them all. It is so inspiring to work with these amazing choreographers and teachers, you will grow as a performer and dancer by working with them.
- Don’t Forget The Love
It is going to be a rollercoaster of a journey but never forget why you started doing this. Don’t ever loose the love for it because if you loose that love then it becomes a 9-5 job and your passion won’t be in it, which means you will never continue to grow and succeed. Like I said it is going to be hard but enjoy the process you are going through and the end result will be amazing.
- Keep An Open Mind
Stay open, and don’t worry about what other people are doing. If you are not the best at tricks or the most flexible dancer then don’t worry because you may have something in you that makes you stand out from the rest, i am sure you do. So be open, think bigger then the little box you are standing in… go bigger.
- Don’t Ever Settle
Never stay satisfied with what your limits are now. You can always be that little bit more flexible, you can always push to get another pirouette or your jumps even higher. There is always something to learn. That is one of the best parts of the job. You never stop learning. Learning from other people, from the different experiences you achieve.
Take as many classes as you possibly can, even after your training while you are auditioning it is important to keep up your skills and your self training between jobs and auditions. I know this can be really expensive as well but even if it means taking a class from YouTube… like dance lovely’s youtube channel has some great fun dance tutorials, and stay tuned weekly for new ones. Also even take vocal and acting lessons you never know when you are going to need them skills through out your journey.
Always be one step ahead, I know this can be boring when it comes to talking about money but just stay smart with it. Starting out you need to be able to promote yourself and this doesn’t come at a cheap price. You need to get head shots, portfolios, showreels, web designer (if you want a website), classes, private coaches, make up, going to see shows etc. And to get the best photos and best quality to promote yourself you really need a lot more money as the best comes at a price. The more capital you have the more resources you have to utilise to launch your career.
I hope these tips helped you out and gave you a great idea on how to get started out there. I know it may seem scary but it is always going to be ok, and just remember to enjoy it because this is what you love to do… remember. Never forget that. I would love to hear from you if you have any great advice to share or any questions. Always remember it’s not a race to get where you want be, it may take time but enjoy the experience along the way.
Thanks for reading.
Live, Love and Keep Dancing.
Love Rosie. X