Making the transition from student to professional is a hazy one – dancers can gain employment whilst in full-time training and there are factors that can help navigate the transition. Aside from having talent and passion, dancers need to be self-motivated, persistent and professional. It’s also much easier to survive if you are liked by your peers and professionals, and have a reputation of working hard and making the most of every opportunity.
It is important to remain motivated and take class, to keep up to date in the industry and with the new faces. Work may not come along for a while, but it’s important to keep your face out there and remind teachers, agents and other dancers that you are there. Dancers may also need to take on other forms of casual employment to pay the bills. For many, this means teaching or waiting tables; whatever it is, having the flexibility to get to classes and auditions is essential so that you can be as fit and ready for work as possible.
Finding an agent is a high priority for graduates as there are many jobs that only agents hear about and because they can negotiate agreements. Some agents attract a variety of work and others specialise in one or two areas, so make sure they have a reputation for getting the type of work you’re interested in. It may be that you cannot find an agent until you have some experience, so remember that there are still open calls, particularly for jobs such as theme parks, cruise ships, and other shows.
Auditions are a big part of a dancer’s life so it’s vital to cultivate a positive attitude and develop a thick skin. Keep in mind that each audition you attend is an opportunity to show what you can do, whether or not you get the job. If you aren’t right for the job this time, make sure you impress someone enough for a job in the future. Always ask yourself what you can improve on from the experience that will help you get closer to getting the job next time.