Artists of The Australian Ballet. Photo Nana Sakai
The pathway to becoming a dancer may vary, but most people start by taking classes at a local dance school. If the goal is to become a professional dancer, this is followed by auditioning for an organisation that specialises in full-time dance training, completing an accredited course, and then taking part in an array of auditions for various companies or project work either in Australia or overseas.
The transition from being a person who dances for fun to a person who wishes to pursue dance as a career offers a mixture of challenges, rewards and in some cases disappointment. Initially children (5–12 years) learn dance for enjoyment, physical, rhythmic and expressive skill development.
The decision to become a dancer poses many questions for students, their parents or guardians, and dance teachers. Central to the decision to enter and continue full-time training is a person's motivation and talent.
An audition for entry into a specialised dance course includes assessment of an individual's ambitions, and physical, musical, expressive and academic attributes. The audition process is designed to ensure that the person is suited to a study program that requires commitment over a period of many years.
Prior to auditioning, it is important for a dance student to choose a course that is best suited to their career development and ambition. Research is a prerequisite to auditioning and accepting a place for full-time dance studies. The range of subjects, dance styles, calibre of dance teachers, choreographers and performance opportunities are considerations that need to be equated with the student's goals.
Similarly there is a range of post-secondary courses that provide dance students with a selection of nationally accredited courses that include dance technique, dance styles, human sciences, performance, drama, production and teaching studies.
Providers of full-time dance training are either privately owned or government funded. Individual courses offer different opportunities to meet the needs of students with varied aims and ambitions. Recognised courses are varied. They include dance and ballet societies (eg.Royal Academy of Dancing, Cecchetti Society), registered Training organisations (eg.The Australian Ballet School), universities (Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Edith Cowan University, Victorian College of the Arts and TAFE (Box Hill College of TAFE). An internet search of dance organisations will provide students with a comprehensive overview of the aims and content of a course which will allow them to make an informed choice.
The competitive reality of gaining dance employment requires confident individuals who are physically, technically, artistically and socially equipped to sustain the standards associated with the profession.