22 March 2011

Dance is a term for describing ways of using the body to tell stories, interpret music and express emotion. Some dance forms require an intense training starting from an early age; others can be learned later.

Benjamin Cook and Peta Cook, swing dancers, Swingcopation.
Benjamin Cook and Peta Cook, swing dancers, Swingcopation.

Dancers may perform many different types of dance, the choices ranging from ballet to hip-hop. There are a number of different approaches to gaining work as a dancer:

  • Dancers who train in certain styles like ballet or contemporary dance may work in existing companies or start their own
  • Musical theatre dancers often work on temporary contracts with West End theatres or other dance and theatre promoters
  • They may gain work on television and in films
  • There may be the opportunity to part in competitions
  • There are more ad hoc opportunities, such as working on cruise ships, in music videos and finding work in other countries.

Each dance style has its own character, with many dancers specialising in a specific style from a young age. Despite this, the need to be versatile is becoming more and more important to the profession.

Trained dancers may, for example, change direction into musical theatre or modern dance in order to gain work. However, it is difficult to become a professional ballet dancer without having the initial training in this form.

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