If you are a naturally talented dancer and have a passion for dance and performing then a career as a Professional Dancer could be for you.
The life of a Professional Dancer is not all glitz and glam, but there is hard work behind the scenes and long hours of rehearsing. The career also has the potential for world travel and tours if you are in certain productions, you will also get the opportunity to make lifelong friendships with those you dance with. You will usually need to specialise in a particular dance style, such as tap, modern, ballet, hip hop and become a refined expert in your style.
You will need to have taken the following subjects at high school:
- English (Home Language or First Additional Language)
- Dance (if this is an option at your high school)
- Pure Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy
- Life Sciences
- Dramatic Arts
The following institutions are highly recommended for further studies:
- University of Pretoria (UP) – APS of 30
- University of Cape Town (UCT) – Faculty Point Score (FPS) of 380
- University of Free State (UFS) – APS of 30+
- Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) – APS of 18
- Nelson Mandela University (NMU) – APS of 30
A degree in Dance or the Performing Arts is highly recommended if you want to become a Professional Dancer. There are also many dance schools all across the country who will host examinations for professional dancers. You can also complete your Associate dance teachers in your chosen style from any of the dance associations in SA.
You will need to have the following skills to succeed as a Professional Dancer:
- an ability to work with people
- able to receive criticism without taking it personally
- communication skills
- performance and stage presence
- talent in your dance style
- body strength, conditioning and perseverance
- flexibility (in more ways than just physically!)
- team work
- able to learn routines and listen to instruction quickly
- time management
As a Professional Dancer, you will be able to work in any of the following environments:
- Dance agencies
- Performing arts agencies and companies
- TV and movie productions
- Various shows that you might be contracted to after auditioning
- Dance studios
As a Professional Dancer, it is all about practice, getting good rest and nutrition. Your working hours will depend a lot on rehearsals, dance classes and auditioning for dance shows. An ideal practice time for Professional Dancers is about 8 hours per day and when you have shows these can be every night over the show season.
The average salary that a Professional Dancer can earn in South Africa is around R21 254 per month, according to Indeed.com. If you get cast for the right shows, this amount can increase.
Here are a few things you can expect from a career as a Professional Dancer:
- Expect hard work – physically, mentally and emotionally.
- Expect to potentially travel across the globe depending on where you find yourself.
- The life of a dancer is also packed with auditions and practice.