Dance your way to a career

Dance student Mallory Hodgson does a back bend in the hallway at Casa Loma campus. Photo: Rachel Levitt/The Dialog

Dance student Mallory Hodgson does a back bend in the hallway at Casa Loma campus. Photo: Rachel Levitt/The Dialog

Dancers from George Brown College’s (GBC) dance programs have gone on to performance dance careers on cruise ships like Carnival Cruise Lines, dancing with Ballet Jörgen Canada and more.

Ever wonder about how to get started in a performance dance profession? Here are some tips and tricks from our dance department for making it in the professional world.

Firstly, some job options dancers have but are not limited to are companies (ballet, contemporary, etc), cruise ship dancing, music videos, backup dancing, amusement park dancing and musical theatre.

As a dancer, a tip I want to pass on is to stay open and be diverse. There are so many people who want to be in this profession so auditioning everywhere and taking chances maximizes the jobs you can get.

How do you find out about auditions though? The most common answers gathered from people interviewed were internet, Facebook and word of mouth.

Dance performance preparation student Irma Villafuerte says “Dance Umbrella of Ontario [website] is a very good one that you can go into and look at the latest postings of auditions that they are looking for dancers, and their very specific, like what kind of dancers, what kind of look or styles.”

Commercial dance studies student Bridget Chase says she hears about auditions from e-mails from a website called Star Now. “You sign up and you just put what you’re interested in and then they’ll send you an e-mail for auditions.”

Dance performance preparation student Jordan Downer says. “Having people on Facebook like your teachers. Those are excellent resources as well, because they’ll post stuff on their walls about auditions and classes.”

In terms of ways to find out about auditions outside of cyberspace, Villafuerte says, “Just staying involved in the dance community in general; going to class, going to events, going to performances where you can talk to other people and they let you know what’s happening in the city.”

Auditioning is not the only way to get work in the performance industry though. Acting teacher Suzanne Bennett who teaches acting for George Brown Dance, says “Don’t wait for somebody else to give you the job. Create your own work.”

Options in creating your own work can include small things like choreographing a piece and then entering it in shows, or big things like opening up dance companies. This is an industry where you have to be pushy and you have to be creative in order to get noticed.

As a tip for aspiring dancers, commercial dance studies graduate and current graduating dance performance studies student Jerry Burchill says “really value the time [training] you have and really make the effort to constantly work on yourself and make yourself better, because you’re never going to get to a perfect stage as a dancer. There’s always room to grow.”

Downer says, “You honestly have to eat, sleep, breathe dance. That’s what my teachers have told me, that’s what I’m trying to do and it’s working.”

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Dance your way to a career