For many dancers, the ultimate goal is to dance professionally. The obvious part of this is that you will need to go to attend auditions, take classes regularly, and develop a routine that will allow you to continue to improve while also working on your resume. What isn’t obvious is how you find the right auditions, how you network, and even what is important on your resume. This is where a dance mentor comes in.
What is a mentor? A dance mentor, specifically, is someone who has worked professionally in the dance industry that can give you advice and answer your questions as you figure out what you want to do. Sometimes your mentor will also be able to help you network by introducing you to other professionals, writing recommendations, or pointing you toward casting calls and auditions.
Having someone like this who has already experienced the stress of finding their footing in a competitive industry like dance is important. They can help you understand the ups and downs of auditions, how to read directors, and how to get over being starstruck when working with your favorite dancers and choreographers. They are there to encourage you and to push you.
Of course, you can dive into the world of professional dance without a mentor. However, without a mentor, you might find that your progress is slower because you will have to find answers to your questions on your own. You will also have to battle nervousness and the stress of rejection without the understanding ear of an experienced dancer.
The difficulty of finding a mentor depends on what you are looking for. If you want someone to listen to you and give you simple advice, then you can probably find a willing mentor in your favorite dance teacher, but if you are looking for a mentor that can teach you specific elements of the industry, help you network, and more, then you’ll probably have to look harder.