Since its founding in 1999, more than 80,000 ballet dancers have participated in competitions such as the Youth America Grand Prix, as just one dance competition statistic available of many. While more than YAGP 450 alumni are currently dancing in companies across the world, the vast majority never become professional dancers, let alone those who take part in other competitions as well.
This may be for many reasons, and not for the lack of trying. You may have the best teacher in the world and the best work ethic and be ultimately committed and hugely talented, and still not make it. There are many, many reasons why dancers may not succeed, and it could simply be down to the fact that they may not have the right body type, not getting into the right company at the right time or getting injured at the wrong moment, reasons entirely out of the dancers’ control.
A mentor can help dancers understand what it takes to make the transition from student to professional. A trusted professional or former professional can then help answer the aspiring dancer’s questions and act as a guidance counselor too. They can help guide what audition and short-term work days will actually look like, and may even have some useful professional connections to help the young dancer network.
Financial stress can also be a problem, so lots of freshly graduated dancers may also choose to get a side job in the industry which will likely provide the flexibility to fit in auditions and rehearsals. Working as a teacher or administrator will give the dancer more flexibility to continue to take class, stay in shape, rehearse and go to auditions. This way the problem of schedules and time keeping is reduced in order to keep it manageable.