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So you want to start dancing professionally?

So you want to start dancing professionally?

"The problem is not making up the steps, but deciding which ones to keep." —Mikhail Baryshnikov

Perhaps you’ve been dancing amateur or pro-am or socially and riding this beautiful adventure through shows and competitions. And at some point through all these steps, you’ve wondered if this is something you should keep. But keep professionally.

If this is what you’re thinking, here are some things to think about:

Dedication. Be ready to work hard. Albert Einstein once said “Dancers are the athletes of God”. He wasn’t wrong. Today’s professional dancing is called “dancesport” for a reason. Be ready to train hard and persevere. Natural talent and ability can only take you so far, and your body needs to be able to handle it. And if you fall able to pick yourself back up and go again.

Passion. To make it in the world of pro dancing, you need to live and breathe dance or everything else will seem like too much effort, and the setbacks will seem greater than they are. Ultimately, you have no control over the outcome of any competition. Nor do you know if your partnership will fall apart. So take that passion and pour it into practice as well as performance -- because you love to dance.

Seek out the best. Find the best teachers you can and take as many lessons with them as you can. Remember: there’s always more to learn. Always. The moment you think you know it all is when you stop growing. Every teacher will offer something different and getting multiple perspectives will help push your dancing onwards and upwards.

Find a partner. You might not have the ideal partner to start. It might take a while to find one. But find a partner and start practicing. There’s a world of difference between practicing with a fellow amateur and dancing with a pro.

Practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. And practice more. If you want to go pro, you should take practice as seriously as a job. Those hours spent in the studio (or on lunch break in an empty office) are what will enable you to advance.

Do it for yourself. Be certain that you’re doing this for yourself -- this is when you will dance your best. The moment your focus shifts to beating someone else or worrying about how well you’ll place, you’ve distracted yourself from what matters. Be on the competition floor for yourself, your partner, and the joy of dancing.

For further listening, here are some words of wisdom from some top professionals in the field:

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