Originally this post featured a link to a news item that focused on a 12-year-old girl with aspirations to become a professional ballet dancer, and the sacrifices she’s made and will need to make in order to get there. The article is no longer available, however, so I have updated this post with some other links and information.
- Here is an interview with Courtney Lutz, a Canadian dancer with the Ontario Ballet Theatre. She talks of her path to becoming a professional ballet dancer, putting in half days of school to make room for dance, and times in her career when it hasn’t been easy to continue.
- Girls aren’t the only ones who work hard and make sacrifices while pursuing a career in professional ballet. An article about David, a 15-year-old, pursuing his education and a career in dance.
- Do you dream of dancing with New York City Ballet? Here are some helpful and realistic answers to students’ questions about working, studying, and training with NYCB and the School of American Ballet (their official school).
- This forum offers an overview of the path(s) that dancers take to become a professional in the ballet world.
- A detailed account of the audition and training process at the Royal Danish Ballet School which are not unlike many other pre-professional ballet schools.
- Ten articles on the steps to becoming a professional dancer. Some of these articles are better than others and when reading keep in mind that these are the individual writer’s opinions. Most give you a sense for the work it takes to become a dancer and the challenges a professional faces.
- An interesting article that spotlights why someone may choose not to become a professional dancer.
In summary, the life and career of a professional ballet dancer is not easy and often requires much sacrifice for young dancers and their families. Although we like to think that with hard work and diligence absolutely anything is possible, the reality is that dance is a highly competitive field. Knowing one’s options, understanding the challenges, assessing and re-assessing one’s desires and goals, researching the paths of dancers and companies, and arming oneself with the best training possible are absolutely necessary if one hopes to pursue dance (particularly professional ballet) as a career. In dance, it is never too early to begin this process. To say that it is all work and no play would neglect the rewards and excitement of a career in dance, however, it is not a pursuit for one who gives up easily, desires immediate gratification, and wants a luxurious salary. It is also extremely helpful to have a balanced and healthy outlook and a strong support system, as ballet has been known to take a toll on a dancer’s mental and physical state.
In addition to the articles above, these books and DVDs offer some insight into the world of professional ballet.
Nichelle Suzanne is a writer specializing in dance and online content. She is also a dance instructor with over 20 years experience teaching in dance studios, community programs, and colleges. She began Dance Advantage in 2008, equipped with a passion for movement education and an intuitive sense that a blog could bring dancers together. As a Houston-based dance writer, Nichelle covers dance performance for Dance Source Houston, Arts+Culture Texas, and other publications. She is a leader in social media within the dance community and has presented on blogging for dance organizations, including Dance/USA. Nichelle provides web consulting and writing services for dancers, dance schools and studios, and those beyond the dance world. Read Nichelle’s posts.