Going pro

Become a professional dancer

Choosing to transition from hobby dancing to a professional career in dance is a significant decision that entails dedication, persistence, and a comprehensive understanding of the different roles within the dance industry.

The most apparent pathway is becoming a dance instructor. Mastery of technique is just the starting point. Being an effective teacher also requires understanding different pedagogical methods, injury prevention techniques, and the capacity to adapt your teaching style to accommodate varying learning abilities. Emotional intelligence is equally crucial, as patience, empathy, and communication skills are paramount in creating a positive learning environment

Become a dance teacher – a couple of considerations

If you’re more interested in entrepreneurship, opening a dance school could be your calling. However, it’s not merely about booking a venue and teaching classes. It requires a solid business plan, knowledge of marketing strategies, the ability to manage staff, and stellar customer service skills. You’ll face challenges, such as competition and operational costs, but overcoming these obstacles will be part of your growth.

Another avenue to consider is becoming a DJ. This role requires an in-depth understanding of different genres and sub-genres of dance music, a keen ear, and the ability to read and control the mood of a crowd. It’s also important to be technologically savvy and have knowledge about sound systems and music software.

Ideas of becoming a salsa DJ

The path to becoming a musician differs significantly, demanding a foundation in music theory, proficiency in one or more instruments, and potentially, composition and production skills.

In any professional dance role, persistence is crucial. The journey may not be smooth, and setbacks are inevitable, but it’s through these challenges that you learn, grow, and evolve. It’s essential to build a network with other professionals, which can lead to collaboration opportunities and invaluable advice.

Lastly, never stop learning. The dance world is continually evolving, and staying abreast of new trends, techniques, and dances can significantly enhance your professional journey. Regardless of the path you choose, remember that your love for dance is the driving force behind your decision. Carry this passion with you, and it will shine through in your professional pursuits.

Pro-Am competition teams

Pro-Am dance teams constitute an intriguing blend of professional and amateur dancers that offer a unique dynamic in the world of competitive dance. These teams typically consist of an amateur dancer who pays a professional to partner with them for competitions. The arrangement provides the amateur dancer an invaluable opportunity to learn and grow under the guidance of their professional partner.

In most instances, the professional dancer leads while the amateur dancer follows. This is not a hard-and-fast rule, however, as roles can vary based on the dancers’ skills and preferences. The Pro-Am setup is particularly beneficial for amateur dancers as it provides hands-on, real-world dance experience and accelerates their progress.

Importantly, Pro-Am is not just about competitive success; it’s also about the amateur dancer’s journey towards mastering the art of dance. This approach encourages individual growth and development, promotes discipline, and fosters a deeper appreciation for dance. Ultimately, Pro-Am dance teams provide a structured platform for amateur dancers to enhance their skills and build confidence on the dance floor.

Lif as a travelling dance instructor

Being a traveling dance instructor can be an exhilarating and enriching journey for those who love dance and teaching, but it’s not without its challenges. The profession is highly competitive, often requiring constant personal development, networking, and hustle to secure consistent work.

The benefits can be numerous. As an instructor, you can meet and form relationships with diverse people from all over the world, a valuable opportunity for personal and cultural growth. Plus, the exposure to various teaching styles and dance scenes can dramatically enhance your dance skills and teaching techniques. It’s also a dream come true for many to be able to do what they love – dancing and sharing the joy of dance with others.

However, the lifestyle also carries some potential drawbacks. Building lasting friendships and stable romantic relationships can be challenging due to the transient nature of the job. Frequent travel can lead to fatigue and disruptions to sleep patterns, which can impact your health over time. The lifestyle can also entail high costs, including airfare, lodging, and meals on the go. Moreover, pay can be inconsistent and often not commensurate with the level of effort and energy expended.

Despite these challenges, many traveling dance instructors find the experiences and opportunities gained through their journey to be invaluable, making the lifestyle a worthwhile choice for those who are passionate about dance and teaching.

What’s it like to work in a dance school…

Working in a dance school can provide a rewarding career path for those passionate about dance and teaching. It’s a professional space that often fosters a close-knit community of fellow dance enthusiasts and provides opportunities for personal growth and dance skill enhancement.

One key advantage is that a dance school typically offers more structured hours, leading to a better work-life balance compared to the erratic schedule of a traveling dance instructor. Reduced travel can also promote a healthier lifestyle and provide a more stable environment for building lasting relationships.

However, working in a dance school often comes with lower compensation. Dance instructors may need to work several hours, including weekends, to make ends meet. That said, many instructors find fulfillment in their work, drawn by the love of dance, the joy of teaching, and the pleasure of being part of a vibrant dance community. Despite financial challenges, the enriching experience often outweighs these concerns.

When should you make the transition to dance teacher?

Making the transition from dancer to dance teacher is a significant step that involves much more than just excelling in dance. It requires a deep understanding of dance techniques, an ability to communicate effectively, and a genuine desire to help others improve their dancing skills.

Timing of this transition is largely subjective and depends on an individual’s comfort, confidence, and mastery over their chosen dance style. However, a key indicator is when you find yourself consistently able to explain complex dance concepts in a manner that beginners can understand and execute.

Some traditional dances have amore formal qualifications but that is not the case when it comes to Salsa, Bachata or Kizomba.

Prior experience as a dance assistant or having had opportunities to help teach classes can be beneficial. Feedback from peers and instructors can also help gauge your readiness. Remember, teaching dance is not just about being a great dancer, but also about having the patience, empathy, and communication skills necessary to inspire and guide others on their dance journey.

What about starting a school? 

Starting a dance school is a venture that merges passion with entrepreneurship. It’s more than a dance hobby, it’s a real business that requires careful planning, budgeting, and decision-making.

Before embarking on this journey, create a detailed business plan outlining your vision, target demographic, potential revenue streams, and competition analysis. This will give you a clearer understanding of the viability and profitability of your school.

Location is paramount. Choose a space that is easily accessible, ideally with parking, and in a neighborhood where noise complaints during evening socials won’t be an issue. The size should accommodate your expected student population, and consider if there’s room for expansion should your school grow.

Budgeting is another critical component. Factor in costs for renovation, dance equipment, licenses, insurance, marketing, and employees. Depending on your city, you might need specific licenses or permits to operate a dance school, so do your research.

Staffing your dance school with qualified, charismatic instructors is important, as they’ll be the face of your business and play a significant role in student retention.

Consider your competition. Are there already established dance schools in your city? What can you offer that’s different or better?

Be aware that running a dance school may not initially be a highly profitable endeavor. It requires significant investment and the returns may take some time. However, with good management, solid teaching, and a strong community, some dance schools become highly profitable, establishing themselves as integral parts of their local dance scene.

Remember, the aim is not just to create a business, but also to build a community around a shared love of dance.

What about participating/organizing a congress

As a professional dancer or instructor, participating in a dance congress presents a unique opportunity to grow your career, network, and brand. It’s equally a significant task if you’re planning to organize one. Here are key points to consider:

  1. Networking: Congresses gather dance enthusiasts and professionals from various backgrounds and regions. Expand your network through engagements at socials, workshops, and even casual conversations. Also, leverage our website to connect with potential partners and clients.
  2. Clarity in Terms: If you’re invited to a congress, ensure that the payment terms are clear and fair. Understand what expenses are covered by the organisers (travel, accommodation, meals) and what aren’t.
  3. Visa and Travel: Plan your travel itinerary well in advance. If you require a visa, liaise with the organisers for any needed documentation and initiate the application process early enough.
  4. Accommodation and Transportation: Ensure the provision of comfortable accommodation and transportation. Having these essentials taken care of allows you to focus on delivering an exceptional experience for the attendees.
  5. Flexibility: Flight delays, last-minute schedule changes, and other unexpected disruptions are part of the journey. Build flexibility into your plans to mitigate stress and ensure a smooth experience.
  6. Extra Gigs: If permitted by the congress organisers, seize the opportunity to stay a bit longer and organise private classes or workshops. This not only earns you extra income but also deepens your connection with the local dance community.
  7. Marketing Support: Provide high-quality photos and videos of your work to the organisers. Ask how you can assist in promoting the event through your network, social media, or other marketing channels.

For those organising a congress, all of the above still apply, but you’ll also need to consider securing a suitable venue, scheduling workshops and performances, managing ticket sales, and effectively promoting the event.

Whether participating or organising, remember that the essence of a dance congress is the celebration of dance culture. It’s about learning, sharing, and creating unforgettable dance experiences.

Organising a Latin dance festival is an exciting, albeit challenging undertaking, demanding commitment, creativity, and attention to detail. The path to a successful festival involves several key steps.

Firstly, assemble a dedicated team. Behind every successful festival lies a group of passionate individuals working towards a shared vision. Co-founders, volunteers, and committed staff are instrumental in shaping and executing your festival plan.

Secondly, formulate a clear budget. Your budget should detail all anticipated expenses and revenue streams. This could include costs for venue hire, performers’ fees, marketing, and operational expenses. You’ll also need to explore various financing options which could involve ticket sales, sponsorships, or personal investments.

The heart of your festival is the guests, so it’s crucial to understand their needs and desires. Do they seek intensive workshops to hone their skills, social dance parties to express and connect, or exciting performances and possibly competitions to watch and participate in? Identify your unique selling point – the aspect that will make dancers choose your festival over others.

Consent is another essential consideration. Your festival should foster a safe environment where all participants feel respected. Implement a clear policy regarding unacceptable behaviours, and ensure your team is equipped to handle any issues that may arise.

Government regulations are also a critical aspect to consider. Ensure that you are compliant with all necessary permissions, licenses, and safety regulations. Having emergency services contact information at hand is also crucial in the event of an unforeseen incident.

Finally, remember that while organising a festival is an immense challenge and may not always be profitable, it provides immeasurable rewards. It’s an opportunity to promote and celebrate Latin dance, create unforgettable experiences for participants, and contribute to the growth and vibrancy of your dance community.

With careful planning, a dedicated team, and a passion for dance, you can create a festival that not only delights guests but also contributes positively to the broader dance community.

Becoming a dance champion… and then?

Dance competitions play a significant role in the Latin dance world. They serve as a platform for dancers to showcase their talent and gain recognition. Some of the most prominent competitions include the World Latin Dance Cup, the World Salsa Summit, and the World Bachata Festival. These events attract dancers from around the globe and are known for their high levels of competition and spectacular performances.

However, it’s important to understand that participating in dance competitions is often less about the prize money and more about gaining visibility and reputation. Winning or even simply participating in these high-profile competitions can significantly boost a dancer’s profile, leading to more opportunities as a dance instructor, performer, or choreographer.

Competitions can be an intense experience, as they bring a heightened level of scrutiny and pressure. The stakes are high, and dancers often push their boundaries in terms of technical skill, creativity, and performance. This can be both exhilarating and stressful, particularly for dance partnerships, as the intense preparation and competition process can strain their relationship.

Solo dance competitions are less common in Latin dance genres, as these dances are inherently partner-based, emphasizing connection and interaction. This means that in addition to mastering their own technique, competitors also need to harmonize their movements with their partner and project their combined energy to the audience.

In conclusion, dance competitions can be a valuable avenue for dancers to gain recognition and enhance their career prospects. Despite the pressure and intensity, they offer a platform to celebrate Latin dance at its highest levels and push the boundaries of what’s possible in performance.

Let’s talk about money…. is it worth it?

In the world of Salsa, Bachata, and Kizomba (SBK), making a substantial income can be challenging. While the passion and joy of dance drive most professionals in this field, the financial realities can be sobering.

Local dance instructors often earn only two to three times the minimum wage per hour, and their teaching hours can be limited. Given the nature of dance classes, which often take place in the evenings or on weekends, the opportunities for income generation are relatively restricted.

The income of traveling dance instructors can be significantly higher due to the higher rates charged for workshops. Rates of several hundred Euros and more than 10 times the minimum wage per hour are not uncommon. However, these opportunities also tend to be sporadic, concentrated mainly on weekends, and require extensive travel, which is physically taxing and can be logistically challenging.

Latin dance festivals, while providing a platform for dancers and instructors, are often not very profitable. The costs of hiring high-caliber instructors, providing their accommodation and transportation, and securing suitable venues can add up quickly. Event organization also involves significant administrative and marketing efforts. Despite the scale of these events, many barely break even.

Opening a dance school might seem like a promising route, but this endeavor also comes with its own challenges. Competition in cities can be intense, with many dance schools vying for the same pool of students. The overhead costs associated with running a physical space can be high, and it requires strong business acumen in addition to dance skills.

Yet, it’s not all gloom and doom. Some of the top dance instructors around the world do earn a comfortable living, commanding higher rates due to their expertise and reputation. In large cities, there is often at least one well-established dance school that has managed to turn a profit, carving a niche for itself in the competitive landscape.

Ultimately, succeeding financially in the SBK niche often requires a combination of high-quality dance skills, entrepreneurial spirit, networking prowess, and, importantly, a deep love for dance. The dance community can offer intangible rewards like connection, joy, and the satisfaction of sharing one’s passion, which many professionals in the field find invaluable.

Dance Content

A very important aspect is creating content that will attract students or festival organisers to book you. Via content creation, you can establish a personal brand that then again helps you getting booked.

Tips to become a dance teacher or start a dance business

Many of the best dancers and many of the best teachers do not have the most memorable names and that hinders their progress. As a different example: Super Mario has a very recognisable name and that helps him getting booked.

Author: Philipp