A dancer’s world is tough and even the best don’t make it in the cutthroat world of dancing. The ability to dance excellently isn’t the only determining factor when you want to become a professional – although it does help. There are lots of skills needed in order to make it in the business. First, one must know how to solve problems creatively and think critically. A sluggish mind and good dancing skills is not a good combination. One must be attuned to other people and work well in groups because most professional dancers perform in groups, although some well-known dancers perform on their own. Other skills needed include the ability to make use of criticism (constructive or not), relate to different kinds of people and most importantly, should be able to meet deadlines and work under extreme pressure.
Professional dancers usually start out young and are constantly training. After getting an undergraduate degree in dancing, one can go on and get a graduate degree. Two of the more well-known graduate degrees are Master of Arts and Master of Fine Arts. The former is mainly concerned with the “behind-the-scenes” of dancing, dealing with mainly research work and academic learning. While the latter is more hands on and focuses on the dancing part itself. Although a graduate degree isn’t necessary, it will definitely be useful if one wants to further his/her career or teach in universities and such. Dancers can work for schools, touring dance companies, amusement parks and of course, in TV/Film. A dancer’s salary depends on the employer, country (or city) and of course, number of experience. Someone who’s working for a company and has more than five years experience will more or less have a salary of about US$45,000 in the US and EU countries. Not everyone can earn as much but it can be supplemented by working as a dance teacher. Or their training could pay off – in the literal sense of the word – by joining dance contests.
Truly, a dancer’s life is tough but it is rewarding. They get to travel, meet interesting folks and do what they love best. The road ahead for a dancer is full of problems and possibly bruises, but, in the end, it’s all worth it.