Updated: May 26
There are certain skills that are common in professional dancers and other skills that are less common. For example, we found that creativity was more common than analytical skills. If you have your eyes set on becoming a professional dancer, this blog post will shed light on the necessary skills and responsibilities a dancer who is part of a professional company will have.
How Dance Companies Work: What Is Expected of Dancers
Dancers in professional dance companies have a lot of responsibility, and the physical and mental pressures are immense. The majority of a dancer's job is taking classes, rehearsing, and performing.
In addition to performing, dancers are expected to engage in community outreach, attend meetings and special events, and work on community engagement projects. Dancers need to be highly organised and have excellent time-management skills in order to properly fulfil these obligations.
What Dancer's Job Looks Like
Being a company dancer is not easy, nor is it a dream job for everyone. They are literally on call 24/7 and need to be available and ready at any time. You have to be prepared to be gone for months without seeing your family and friends. Sometimes, you'll be on the road with a tour, and all you'll have are the members of your company and the manager.
Company dancers begin as apprentices, or they might receive a full-time contract if they are the top candidate. This means they are on the payroll, have a signed contract, and get paid until the end of the season. During the season, you'll be required to work approximately 6-8 hours per day, several days a week. After the season ends, you likely will get a few months off.
What Dancers Need to Succeed
Ballet and modern dancers are physically on the same page, but mentally their training is very different. Ballet dancers must master everything, from leaps and turns to pirouettes, and all of it must be in perfect form, shape, and presentation.
Modern/Contemporary dancers are much more fluid, and their dancing is a bit more at the moment. The amount of stamina required to be a modern dancer is equal to the demand of ballet dancers.
Flexibility is a must-have skill, and it needs to be accompanied by strength. Without strength, a dancer simply won't be able to control their body. For example, you will need strong abdominals if you want to lift your leg, hold it up, and turn it. Even if you're just practising, if you don't have the strength to keep your leg up, you will be unable to turn.
You also need balance and coordination. Ballet dancers are required to master their bodies and also to be able to control every muscle.
Having a good sense of rhythm is also necessary. Dancers must be able to hear the music and use it as fuel for their movements. As well as their many hours in rehearsals and company class, many dancers also join Fitness classes, such as Barre Fitness at Adore Dance London.
You also need to be a very strong person. Ballet dancers are strong both mentally and physically. They must be able to endure a lot of pain and push themselves to the limit. Strength comes from a place of inner confidence, and it can be developed and maintained only through the love of what you do.
If you love dancing and want to be a professional dancer, then you should definitely pursue it. But you must be willing to give your life to it and be able to take on all the responsibilities it comes with. Be aware of what you're getting into and understand the demands of being a professional dancer.
Whilst the focus of Adore Dance’s classes is on the fun & friendly side of the dancing world, the road to any professional dance career should begin as early as possible with children's dancing classes in Stratford, Hackney Wick, Bow & Hackney.
Adore Dance offers Ballet, Jazz, Tap Contemporary, Commercial and Dance Fitness Classes from a purpose-built dance studio in Hackney Wick. Our classes are easily accessible from Stratford, Hackney, Homerton, Bow and surrounding areas.