How can i become a backup dancer

How Do I Become a Backup Dancer? (with pictures)



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Erin J. Hill

The first step you will take if you want to become a backup dancer is to become an excellent dancer through lessons and considerable practice. Once you have the necessary skills, you can audition for a talent agency to try and gain representation. Most backup dancers land jobs through auditions scheduled by these agencies. You may also be able to take part in contests to land positions as a backup dancer although these opportunities are less common.

In order to become a backup dancer you will need to gain several years experience in dancing. You should probably choose the exact type of work you want to do, since there is a wide range of dance types. Most backup dancers work in theater productions, although you may aim to work as a dancer for a major music artist in music videos or on tours. Both arenas are very difficult to break into, due to heavy competition. The type of dance you take will probably depend on the type of jobs you want to land.

Once you are accomplished in your particular type of dance, you should make every effort to be seen. You will likely begin by dancing in local productions and in local clubs. When you are confident in your abilities to perform in front of a crowd, the next step to become a backup dancer is to audition and land a contract with a talent agency.

Talent agencies employ experts in the various fields who have industry connections. Your agent will land auditions for you to give you a better chance of breaking into the field. Most big name productions won't see dancers who do not have an agent. Even if someone is willing to allow you to audition, you will usually be taken more seriously and given more consideration if you do have an agent. The talent agents work to find good talent, so those who are doing the hiring will assume that you have some level of talent if you are with a reputable agency.

Once you have an agent, you will up your chances of being able to become a backup dancer if you attend as many auditions as possible. Don't expect to land the job of your dreams the first time, but gain experience working in smaller productions first to add to your resume. Once you have proven yourself as a hardworking and reliable person, you will be much more likely to become a backup dancer in larger productions.

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Music Industry Career Roles - Berklee Online

What is Berklee Online?

Berklee Online is the online school of Berklee College of Music, delivering access to Berklee’s acclaimed curriculum from anywhere in the world. We are the world’s largest online music school—30,000+ musicians from more than 140 countries have taken our courses—but classes cap at just 20 students per section.

What does Berklee Online offer?

We offer award-winning online courses, multi-course certificate programs, a Bachelor of Arts degree, a Master of Music degree, and a Master of Arts degree.

Who is Berklee Online designed for?

Our programs provide lifelong learning opportunities to people interested in music and working in the music industry. The courses range from beginner to advanced graduate level.

What kind of subjects are taught?

Berklee Online offers more than 200 courses in every musical interest area: Everything from instruction on specific instruments (guitar, piano, bass, drums, voice) to music production software (Ableton, Pro Tools, Logic, and more) to larger concepts in music business, songwriting, theory, and composing for film, TV, and games

Do online students receive the benefits of an on-campus Berklee education?

Absolutely! Just like the students studying on Berklee’s Boston campus, Berklee Online students receive instruction from the same world-renowned faculty, with the added benefit of having music industry professionals from around the world teaching as well. You’ll also receive guidance from Berklee-trained Academic Advisors, and have the opportunity to walk at the Commencement ceremony in Boston with your cohort of graduates who studied online and in-person.

What is the process to apply for/enroll in a Berklee Online program or course?

Certificate programs and online courses are offered on an open enrollment basis. Simply complete the online enrollment form and provide payment prior to the course start date and you’re ready to go! Degree programs require an application and supporting documentation. See the Admission Requirements for more details.

Will I receive a Berklee ID and/or email address?

Berklee Online degree students are eligible to request a Berklee ID. Upon acceptance into the program, degree students are also given a email address.

Can I take non-credit courses in a certificate?

All courses in a certificate program must be taken for credit.

Can I waive some for-credit courses into a certificate?

Students must enroll in a certificate by paying the $175 certificate registration fee prior to completing the final course in the program. All for-credit courses that have been awarded a passing grade and that align with a certificate program may transfer into that program.

Can I upgrade from a lower-level certificate to a higher-level certificate?

Yes! Berklee Online offers two certificate options:

  1. CHANGE CERTIFICATE: When a student wants to change their lower-level certificate to a higher-level certificate (or vice versa) prior to the completion of the program. There are no additional fees for this option other than the cost of additional courses, and you will only earn one certificate upon completion.
  2. STARTING A NEW CERTIFICATE: When a student wants to earn more than one certificate by having the courses from their lower-level certificate waived into a higher-level certificate. In this case, an additional $175 registration fee is required.


Who teaches Berklee Online courses?

Berklee faculty and seasoned professionals teach our courses. Our instructors are recognized experts in their respective fields—they’ve produced and engineered hundreds of artists and numerous award-winning projects, and several of their students have gone on to earn GRAMMY Award nominations.

Financial Aid

Am I eligible for financial aid?

Financial assistance is available for Berklee Online degree programs. This assistance may come from a variety of sources including federal awards, outside scholarships, and private loans.

Federal financial aid is not available for non-degree programs. Non-degree students typically finance their costs out-of-pocket or with a private loan. Review our payment options.


What happens if I turn in my graduation application late? Do I still need to apply by December 1 even if I don’t want to walk in the Commencement ceremony?

Because we must coordinate with the Boston campus for Commencement, it is essential that students planning to walk in the ceremony submit their graduation application by 12:00 midnight ET on December 1. If you submit your application late, you will need to wait until the following year to walk.

We ask all students planning to graduate within the current academic year to apply for graduation by December 1, regardless of their plans to participate in Commencement. Late application for students who do not wish to walk will result in processing delays for your academic record and diploma, and your name may not be listed in the ceremony program.

What’s the difference between graduating and walking in Commencement?

Great question! Walking in Commencement and graduating are two separate things.

You can walk in Commencement when you are nine (9) credits or less away from completing your degree requirements by the end of the spring term. Please note: Berklee Online degree students are not required to walk in Commencement in Boston.

You graduate when you have met all of the following criteria:

  • Attained at least a 2.70 cumulative GPA in concentrate courses
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2. 00
  • Fulfilled all program requirements AND completed a minimum of 120 credits for a single major or 165 for a dual major
  • Completed a minimum of 60 institutional credits for a single major or 105 institutional credits for a dual major
  • Fulfilled all financial obligations to the college

Note Walking across the stage in Commencement

does not

mean that you have graduated. You will not officially graduate and receive your diploma until you meet all of the eligibility requirements.

I just finished my last term at Berklee Online! What happens next? Is there anything I need to do?

Congratulations on finishing! If you have already filled out a graduation application, you will want to double-check the "Graduation Checklist" to ensure you have taken care of all of the various items associated with graduating. If you have not filled out a graduation application, you will need to do that as soon as possible. You will not be able to graduate until we have received and processed your graduation application.

When will I get my diploma?

You will receive your diploma within 6-8 weeks of completing your degree requirements. Please keep in mind that instructors have up to two (2) weeks to submit final grades after the term concludes.

Diplomas are mailed to the address you include on your graduation application. If your mailing address changes after you have submitted your graduation application, be sure to update us at [email protected].

Keep in mind that if you are walking in Commencement, you will not receive your official diploma at the ceremony.

Transfer Credits

Can I find out how many transfer credits I am eligible for before I apply to the degree program?

If you are interested in applying to the Bachelor of Arts degree program and would like an estimate of the amount of transfer credit you would receive, you can request an unofficial transfer evaluation by emailing a copy of your transcript(s) to the Berklee Online Transfer Team at [email protected]. Be sure to include your name, major of interest, and any additional questions you may have. You can expect to receive your assessment within 7-10 business days.

I didn’t receive credit on my Official Evaluation for all of the courses that I thought I would. What should I do?

The earlier you contact us with questions or concerns regarding your evaluation, the easier it will be for us to address any issues. Therefore, it is very important when you first receive your official transfer evaluation that you review the information carefully.

If you notice a remaining requirement that you believe you’ve already fulfilled, first consult our document on Common Reasons Credit Does Not Transfer. It’s possible that the course you are thinking of didn’t meet our eligibility requirements.

If none of those exclusions apply, please fill out a Transfer Credit Equivalency Re-evaluation form for the courses you wish to have reconsidered.

Sometimes, we are not able to locate specific information for a course online and we are not able to determine an equivalency, but we are always happy to review additional material which will help us make that determination.

Do my Berklee Online, Berklee campus, or Prior Learning Credit coursework count towards the 60 transfer credit limit?

No, credits completed at Berklee or through the prior learning process do not count towards the 60 transfer credit limit. This maximum is for credit-bearing exams and undergraduate-level coursework completed externally.

What is a credit deficiency and why do I need to make up credit?

Credit deficiencies are caused by transferring a course that is less than three (3) credits to fulfill a three (3) credit Berklee Online requirement. Students with a credit deficiency will be short of the minimum number of credits required to graduate once they have completed their program requirements. In order to be eligible to graduate, you will need to make up the credits you are deficient in.

While the Transfer Team does their best to avoid giving students credit deficiencies, it is not always possible. You can make up the credits you are deficient in by completing additional Berklee Online coursework, by applying for prior learning credit, or by completing additional external coursework in the area in which you are deficient.

Note all external courses will first need to be approved by the Transfer Team.

Can transfer credit fulfill prerequisites?

It depends. Generally, transfer credit cannot be used to fulfill prerequisites unless we determine that the course you completed is a direct equivalent to one of the courses we offer at Berklee Online. Keep in mind that there are some courses which require you to pass a placement exam. For these you will need to achieve a passing grade on the test to fulfill the prerequisite, otherwise you will need to complete the appropriate Berklee Online course.

Can I transfer credits to Berklee Online after I have started the degree program?

Yes, you can. To determine if the coursework you already completed or are considering taking is eligible to fulfill your remaining degree requirements, contact the Transfer Team at [email protected].

I am a Berklee campus student. Can I transfer courses from Berklee Online to my campus-based program?

View a list of transferable courses to Berklee’s campus programs.

For additional questions about transferring courses from Berklee Online to Berklee's campus programs please contact the campus transcript evaluator at [email protected].

Are Berklee Online courses transferable to other institutions?

Berklee Online is regionally accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), the same association that accredits our main campus and other leading academic institutions such as Harvard University and MIT. Our courses are transferable to other institutions, but it's up to the receiving institution to decide the number and types of courses that may transfer. We recommend getting a course pre-approved by an institution before enrolling.


How do Berklee Online’s costs compare to other education options?

Berklee Online’s programs have a tuition cost that is approximately 64 percent less than on-campus tuition at Berklee’s Boston campus. Moreover, a recent study revealed that the average annual tuition at for-profit colleges is more than twice as expensive as Berklee Online. Even average annual tuition at other accredited non-profit online universities is roughly $11,000 more expensive than tuition for a year with Berklee Online!

How much does a certificate program cost?

There is a one time $175 registration fee per certificate program. Students may either pay per course term (at the $1,515 per credit course cost) or pay in full to receive a 10 percent discount. The registration fee and all courses for the term you wish to begin in must be paid in full in order to begin.

How much does an online Bachelor’s degree cost?

Online undergraduate degree tuition is $59,160 for 120 credits for all majors except the guitar major. Tuition for the guitar major is $63,660. Students taking 10 courses per year can complete the degree in four years at a cost of $14,790 per year. (Note: Tuition and fees are subject to change.)

How much does an online master's degree cost?

Online graduate degree tuition is $33,120 for 36 credits. The Master of Music in Music Production and Master of Arts in Music Business programs are designed to be completed in one year of study. Both programs are comprised of 12 three-credit courses that can be taken during four 12-week semesters.

What is included in the cost of a course?

The cost for an individual course includes the tuition fee. The cost of required books, hardware or software must be purchased separately, unless it is stated that these costs are included with your enrollment. Some courses may include additional fees for files or content.

11 reserve dancer secrets - Article


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What would Thriller look like without Michael Jackson's army of dancing zombies? What if Madonna had to preen and pose for Vogue by herself? And how could the Hammertime hype be conveyed without the powerful energy of these parachute-clad B-fighters?

Back-up dancers add depth and dimension to live performances and music videos, and while you may not always know their names, chances are you've practiced quite a few of their moves. But what is it really like to work in the industry? From auditions to accompanying superstars on tour and in music videos, we have the answers for everyone who thinks they can dance.


"I was late to the game," says Laurie Sommer, a dancer who has worked with Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and Eve, about her beginnings in the dance world. "I was a martial artist and this discipline and training gave me the opportunity to learn choreography." Sommer says she was dancing with friends at a New York club in the mid-90s when she was scouted and invited to audition as a club dancer at the popular house music venue Sound Factory Bar. There she befriended resident DJ Louis Vega, house music legend Barbara Tucker, choreographers and others who could help her get her name on the bookers. Based on these connections, she embarked on her first tour with Reel 2 Real (best known for her dance track "I Like to Move It"). “This club really opened doors for me, but dancers have to take classes all the time and learn new things,” she tells Trini Radio. "There is always a new style or technique that will help us improve our abilities."

Dancer Mark Romain, who also had no formal training other than being on college dance teams but built a dance career with Britney Spears, Katy Perry and Kesha, agrees. “You have to work on your craft. Just like in the gym, to keep your strength up, you have to exercise your creative muscles and skills regularly, he told BuzzFeed in 2013. - There is a big difference between doing well in a dance class and being able to perform on stage; it is important to gain work experience. If you start late, that's fine, but practice, practice, practice."


While backup dancers need to have enough personality and style to stand out in auditions, they often find they can't divert too much attention from the main performer or subject matter. When Sommer was working on Whitney Houston's 1999 video for "It's Not Right But It's Okay", she realized that her blonde curls stood out too much for the dark set of videos. "We were all wearing this army uniform and when we started filming the director said 'it stands out,'" Sommer recalls. They pulled her hair back and tried again, but the director wanted it to be even more subdued. In the end, they put all of us in hats to cover my hair, which is how we look in the final video. After that, a friend recommended that I darken my hair, and I realized that if I wanted to work more consistently, I needed to make this change more even. It was the last video I made as a blonde.”


Often, dancers come to auditions with only a vague idea of ​​what an artist really needs. This is how they learn to read the room. Dancer Pam Choo, who has done everything from performing at Radio City Rockette to Cirque du Soleil and touring with Demi Lovato, has this to say. Cosmopolitan that when she went to audition at Britney Spears' Las Vegas residence, she got scared because she didn't know any of the people involved. So she cheered up and figured it out after a day. “From the way the choreographers taught, I knew they needed people who had the technique, the style, and would dance from the heart—all the time,” Chu says. “I knew I would never sit down for an audition. We were there for nine hours.” After a series of callbacks, Chu received a contract.


Because their lives are often dictated by hectic touring schedules and opportunities they can't pass up, dancers often have to miss family events and other personal events. "I once sacrificed a gig and a tour because I didn't want to miss my goddaughter's birthday," Sommer recalls. “I missed her first birthday because I was in Europe and I said I couldn't miss her second birthday. It's difficult because you risk being replaced. "

And for others, the opportunity can change their entire trajectory. Ashley Everett, Beyoncé's longtime dance captain, was just 17 years old when she landed on her first tour. Timing seemed flawless - the Beyonce Experience tour wrapped up a week before she was due to start classes at her dream school, Juilliard. But then the tour was extended. "I had to make a decision," Everett told Refinery29. "Follow the dream of a lifetime that's been on my wish list all my life, or cement it with a legend with no idea what's coming next." I took a leap of faith and stayed on tour. Obviously it paid off! '

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Despite their fast paced lifestyle and the opportunity to work with superstars, most dancers are essentially independent contractors. That means booking gigs in installments, working overtime and, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, earning an average of about $14 an hour, or $34,000 a year.

“Yes, a long-term job like a tour, a TV show or a movie can keep us busy for several months, but the reality is that sooner or later this job will end and we will have to start all over again - to play concerts or pass listening. something else,'' Everett wrote in a 2016 HuffPost article. “I will be in 12-hour rehearsals for two months in a row, and on other days I stay without knowing when my next work will come. This is business. We must always stay on our toes and keep working.”

Sommer agrees. "It can be a struggle," she says. In between filming or touring, dancers often take on more stable side jobs. Sommer worked as a dancer-for-hire for entertainment companies, where she would go to bar mitzvahs or weddings with a band or DJ and encourage guests to hit the dance floor. Many others are involved in projects as choreographers and teachers and are looking for commercial work that is usually short but requires a lot of money (such as dancing at the Gap, Target or car advertising). “You have to work when there is work,” says Sommer. “There are a lot of food on a budget, a lot of ramen noodles. But every dancer I know won't change that for the whole world."


While many artists have been known to adjust their schedule between tour stops or change sets or transitions to keep things fresh, sometimes the dancer's hard work takes a backseat because the artist just doesn't feel it. This can be devastating, especially for big award shows like the Grammys or the VMAs, which are hugely in-demand roles with multiple auditions and rehearsals that can go on for 10 hours a day.

Sommer recalled that at her first VMAs in 1999, she landed a dance seat for Jay-Z, who also performed for the first time at the VMAs with a medley of his recent hits such as "Can I Get A..." and "Hard Knock Life". ". “My friend Ray [dancer and promoter of Voodoo Ray] put on this wonderful piece and it was a huge opportunity for him,” says Sommer. “And on the day of the VMAs, when we were rehearsing, Jay suddenly said that he didn’t want anyone to dance backing vocals.” Instead, he wanted his crew, which included DJ Clue, Amil, and about 15 other friends, to hang on the stage where the dancers were supposed to be. A dozen dancers were moved to side stages and allowed to dance there, but it didn't have the same effect as the choreography they were preparing for. "I mean, I was paid for my time," Sommer says. "But not to do what I practiced and really really wanted to do."


You can often see singers using headphones during concerts to better hear themselves or their band. But dancers also often wear in-ear headphones, especially in large arenas when the roar of the crowd can drown out any chance to sync up with the music. "It's an interesting experience...because we don't hear the audience," said dancer David Schreibman. In magazine about wearing ears while touring with Justin Bieber. “All you hear is Bieber's voice and the choreographer talking to us throughout the show. I took my ears out last night... and it was SO loud. When it goes into "Baby" it's crazy. I had to plug my ears."


Sometimes having a built-in dance partner can help grab the attention of dancers and record gigs. French dancers Laurent and Larry Bourgeois, already known in their own country as Les Twins, made a splash in the States when they began working with Beyoncé in 2011; they have since toured with her many times, starred in numerous videos, and recently won Jennifer Lopez's new competition show, Dance World . Mark and Donald Romain often appear together as dancers at award ceremonies and have appeared in videos such as Britney Spears' "Till the World Ends". And up-and-coming Korean twins Kwon Young Deuk and Kwon Young Don, who have supported Psy and other KPop groups, are getting a lot of fan attention and calls to promote them to "idols" in their industry.

that you believe me

But for Canadian sisters Jenny and Jaime Ray Daly, who made music videos, TV shows like Smash and The X Factor and movies like the Step Up franchise, sometimes working together just isn't in the cards. “It's not really a competition for us because we're like twins together. When we audition, we are a team,” Jennie said. Montreal Gazette in 2013. "Our mentality is, 'If it's not both of us, then none of us,' although that doesn't always work out."


For all the stories of artists meeting their backup dancers (Mariah Carey and Brian Tanaka, Jennifer Lopez with Chris Judd and Casper Smart, Prince and Maite Garcia, Britney Spears and Kevin Federline, etc.) those long hours of rehearsals and traveling together can really strengthen family bonds. "I became very close to those who danced with me, but even closer to [those] who danced with me on tour," Janet Jackson told an audience in October 2017, before she invited several dancers to perform "Rhythm Nation, 'has been a staple of her performances since the song and its iconic video took the world by storm at 1989 year. One of those dancers who made a comeback was Jenna Dewan-Tatum, who had her big hiatus on tour with Jackson in 2001-02.

"Janet asked her 'kids' to come back and perform with Rhythm Nation at the Hollywood Bowl," Dewan-Tatum wrote on Instagram. “I dreamed of dancing with her since I was a child and literally pinched myself every night of the All for You tour. So last night I pinched myself again. She left a legacy for her dancers and personally launched my career! It all starts with Jan. Thank you for this my love!!! "

(Another person who worked as Janet's back-up dancer before becoming successful on her own? Jennifer Lopez, who starred in the 1993 video for 'It's the Way Love Goes').


Lack of health insurance and union benefits for dancers was widespread until recently. Dancers Alliance, a group working to negotiate fair rates, health care options and keep dancers safe, launched campaigns in 2011 to secure music video contracts and in 2013 to unionize tours. "I believe that dancers who have trained professionally should be treated - and compensated - like professionals," said Dancers Alliance board member Dana Wilson. Dance Magazine in 2015. The group worked out a contract with SAG-AFTRA to shoot music videos in 2011, but Wilson, who was dancing with Justin Timberlake at the time, pushed for a union tour so that the dancers would be eligible for medical care. and other benefits on the road. It worked. In 2014, Timberlake became the first artist to defend his backup dancers under a SAG-AFTRA contract.

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Like most athletes, dancers know that they will eventually have to give up their sport. Injuries, from muscle strains and spasms to various tears and sprains, can take their toll. Many performers such as Paula Abdul and Lady Gaga have discussed their problems with chronic pain.

“The wear and tear on the body is enormous,” says Sommer. She would have known - a herniated disc limited her dancing career in 2002. “Most dancers will find ways to deal with injuries. Lots of Epsom salts, Bengai. It's a wonderful life that allows you to travel and see the world, but there was a moment when I couldn't walk."

Many dancers find ways to stay active by teaching or fitness, exercising and exercising. Some of them, like many of the New York Westside Dance Physiotherapists, were professional dancers who turned their specific knowledge of dancers' bodies into careers in medicine.

In fact, a post-dance career can be just as varied as a non-dance career. Sommer developed a passion for comedy, became one of New York City's top entertainers, and now runs the West Side Comedy Club. And at least one former dancer 90's became a football coach: one of the M.C. Alonso Carter, the dancer for Hammer's original song 'U Can't Touch This', is currently a running coach in San Jose State.

K-pop idols who were backup dancers before their debut

Many K-Pop fans know how long it takes idols to make their debut. Many of them have been training for years to hone their skills. In addition to this rigorous training, some idols gained experience on stage by performing alongside other artists as backing dancers. Below you will find a list of K-Pop idols who were backup dancers for other artists before their debut.

See also: Netizne listed the pros and cons of each entertainment agency

Li Kids

even before becoming an interns of JYP Entertainment , , Li NUU, Li NUU, Li NUU, Li NUU Li INUS and even went on tour with the band. When he encountered J-Hope of BTS after debut, he mentioned that the member recognized him!


Shownu of MONSTA X is well known for his dancing skills. Before becoming the leader of MONSTA X , he was the background dancer for Lee Hyori . Even as an understudy, he attracted the attention of fans who noticed his impressive looks and talent.

Kang Daniel

Kang Daniel received a lot of praise from fans for his incredible dancing skills when he first appeared on " Produce 101 .” After winning the show, fans discovered that he was the backup dancer for Cao Lu of FIESTAR and Sihyeon of SPICA before he became a contestant on the reality show Produce 101 .


Although EunB is now the leader of IZ*ONE , she once performed with Girl's Day as a backing dancer. In the episode " Amazing Saturday » Eunbi reunited with Girl's Day member Hyeri who mentioned that Eunbi dreamed of becoming a singer when she was a backup dancer.


Ni-Ki was only 11 or 12 years old when he had the opportunity to become a backup dancer for the male group SHINee . Given that he was offered this position at an incredibly young age, it's obvious that he's extremely talented when it comes to dancing.

EXO's Lay

EXO 's Lay was chosen to replace SHINee's member Jonghyun when he couldn't perform with the group at the same time. SHINee is known to have difficult choreography, so the fact that SM Entertainment chose him as their backup dancer shows how skilled he is!


BTS is a group praised by K-Pop fans around the world for their exceptional dancing skills. Nearly all of the members have experience as back-dancers for senior artists under their own label. JA-HOUP and Jungkook were reserve dancers at live performances Joe Kwon , and Jimin , Shuga , Jay-Hope and Chongk worked with the female group .

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