Getty Images

Ask Amy: How Should I Prepare for My First Professional Dance Job?

I was offered a company contract (my first!) starting this fall. What should I do in the meantime to make sure I'm as prepared as possible? —Melissa


Congratulations! You are about to enter an exciting new world—and you're smart to want to be prepared. Naturally, you should be in excellent shape when the season starts, so take daily ballet classes and perhaps do some cardio training or supplemental somatics, like Pilates or yoga, so you're physically strong enough to handle a full rehearsal schedule. Also, keep in mind that most companies don't offer separate pointe classes, or at least not very often—in fact, many professionals change into pointe shoes for center during morning class. If you haven't started doing this already, now is a good time to get used to the feeling.

One of the biggest differences between student and professional life is that you'll be expected to be in charge of your own progress. Company class will move faster and may feel less intense than what you're used to, and ballet masters won't spend as much time on corrections. Be conscious now of absorbing general feedback in class and applying it to your own dancing. If you make a mistake, practice analyzing what went wrong and developing a solution rather than waiting for a teacher to tell you what to do.

If you know your season repertoire already, research the ballets you'll be learning, as well as the choreographers and composers. And don't just think about your job—learn about the new city you're moving to, what neighborhoods you'd like to explore and where you might like to live. Then there are practical things you'll want to get a grasp on: managing money, cooking healthy meals, doing laundry, finding a doctor and pharmacy. The more you prepare in advance, the less overwhelming your new life will feel.

Have a question? Send it to Pointe editor in chief and former dancer Amy Brandt at askamy@dancemedia.com.

Latest Posts


iStock

Ask Amy: My Parents Want Me to Get a Job and Cut Back on Dance Classes

I am thinking about pursuing a career in ballet. However, my parents have made it clear that at some point they want me to get a job, which they acknowledge would mean possibly dropping dance, or at least not taking as many classes. I agree that getting a job is important so that I'm able to make my own money, but dropping dance classes is the exact opposite of what will get me to where I want to be. Any suggestions? —Kaia

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Laurent Liotardo (post-production by Nik Pate), Courtesy ENB

Catch English National Ballet’s Rising Stars in the Emerging Dancer Competition Livestream

The coronavirus pandemic may have postponed English National Ballet's annual Emerging Dancer competition last spring, but the show must go on—digitally! You can still watch ENB's best and brightest talent during the competition's livestream, taking place on September 22 at 7:20 pm BST (that's 2:20 pm ET). Now in its 11th year, the competition for the Emerging Dancer Award will be broadcast live from the company's East London production studio for the first time. Tickets are available for $6.99 per device and will remain available to view on demand until September 29.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
From left: Alaina Broyles, Courtesy Werner; Courtesy Underwood

Gaynor Minden's Latest Dancer Lineup Features a Body-Positivity Activist and Its First Guy

Pointe shoe brand Gaynor Minden recently welcomed 32 young dancers to its coveted roster of Gaynor Girls. But this year, the company included two applicants who push the boundaries of what it means to dance on pointe. While both Mason Simon Underwood and Colleen Werner are longtime GM wearers, they stand out from the rest of this year's group: Underwood is the first ever Gaynor Guy, and Werner is a body-positivity activist.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks