How to become a professional backup dancer

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 transfer@online. 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.

How Do You Even Become A Backup Dancer?

Mark and Donald Romain are twin backup dancers from Los Angeles who have worked with artists like Britney Spears, Ke$ha, and Katy Perry, just to name a few. They talked with BuzzFeed about how to break into the field, what NOT to do on set, and dancing with the stars.

How many years of training or schooling did you do before breaking into the professional world? What's the typical amount of preparation for backup dancers before they start out with their careers?

MR: Everybody's path to breaking into the professional world of entertainment is different. I personally have no training. I learned on dance teams in college and on the job. You have to work your craft. Like going to the gym to maintain your strength, you have to work out your creative muscles and skills regularly. I see kids barely up to my knees that are training like beasts and adults who have had no formal training move to L.A. to work, so it varies. Although I had no formal training, I had performed on stage many times with my team. There is a big difference between doing well in dance class and being able to perform on a stage; it's important to get performance experience. If you start late, that's okay, but train, train, train.

DR: I had been dancing for about four and a half years when I signed with my first agency. The typical amount of time of preparation that it takes to prepare to be a backup dance varies with each dancer. Some people train their whole lives, but there are also dancers who move here in their early twenties to pursue it. Once you get signed, it's still an uphill battle to book your first job and get noticed.

What is the audition process like?

DR: There are two different types of auditions — open calls and private. I've been to open calls where you are auditioning against 300 other guys for just a few spots; they can last multiple days with each reaching 8-10 hours. When calls are that big, they usually don't even take your resume or headshot until after the first cut. The choreographer or his/her assistant will break you into groups. Once in your group, you say your name, your agency, your height, and then you dance. Most times you do the routine twice with a freestyle at the end of the second time and they make cuts from there until they decide who they want.

For private calls, the amount of dancers is much smaller. These auditions are usually no more than a few hours. It's hard when you're first starting out; you don't get invited to private calls because people don't know who you are. When I first got to L.A. and started auditioning, it was a very intimidating process. It's been a couple years now, though, and so going to auditions is fun because, at this point, I see the same guys at the auditions. Auditions are very competitive; there are a lot of amazing dancers here in L.A. When it comes to the energy between everyone, it doesn't feel competitive, though. Everyone is very supportive of each other, and when a dancer kills at an audition, everyone cheers.

MR: Not all jobs come from auditions, though! This is why it's important to establish relationships with other dancers and choreographers, to take classes, to have good relationships with your agent, and for people to know who you are. A lot of jobs come from direct bookings or referrals. People can smell a networker a mile away though so the best thing is to do your job, do it well, and make friends.

When do you feel you first really broke into the business?

DR: The first job we booked a job for a major artist, it was for Katy Perry at the American Music Awards. I remember walking into the warehouse for rehearsal and seeing the stairs set up and mirrors placed at the front of the space and it looked just like MTV Making the Video to me. I grew up watching that show and watching behind the scenes footage of Janet and her dancers rehearsing in a similar space and I just couldn't believe I was getting to experience this. When the music started at the show and I was prepped ready to go I had a nauseous feeling in my stomach from excitement and I knew that dancing was a career I wanted.

MR: I remember thinking, I'm actually getting to be a backup dancer. After that I was doing a hand double job on a Rihanna commercial and literally, that was it. We spent 10 hours on set, got suited up in tuxes and then just used our hands, but I felt so grateful that I was making money on a professional set. That in itself is a huge blessing in this industry.

View this video on YouTube

Performing in the video for "Till The World Ends."

What advice would you give to dancers looking to break into the industry?

DR: The more you can do, the more you can be used for jobs. Also, maintain a great relationship with your agency. Who knows better what choreographers are looking for and booking than your agent? Listen to what they have to say and be proactive about helping them help you. Stay in the gym and in great shape, have great head shots, take classes and meet people and, most importantly, have a great attitude. The hours in the industry are long and the work is hard, no one wants to work with someone who is difficult and doesn't contribute to a positive working environment.

MR:There are some dancers that show up in L.A. and book consistently right away. That's not how it happened for me, you have to be persistent and be willing to grow and learn once you get here. Be willing to do things just to meet people and get yourself out there at first. A great way to get the agent you want besides auditioning is to book a great job and go to that agency and say "Hey, I'm booked on this great job and I'm really interested in being represented by you". But remember, a "great" agency may not be the best for you. Do your research.

What's the most memorable tour or performance you've been a part of?

DR: Being able to perform with Britney Spears. When I was younger, my cousin would play her during our little shows for our family, and Mark and I would be her backup dancers. I saw Britney open for *NSYNC when she had just come out. After that show, I came home and told my grandma that there was a singer who opened the show that I wanted to dance for. As a part of the generation that grew up on her music and such a huge fan, I was overwhelmed by the opportunity to support her on stage. I don't think any experience can compare to dancing on stage and looking to your right and performing next to you is your favorite artist. The second moment that meant a lot to me was doing MTV New Year's Eve with Ke$ha. My senior year of high school, my family took a trip to New York with my best friend. Me, my brother, and my best friend traveled two hours in to Times Square to be on TRL and we actually made it on the show. A couple days later, we came back with my mom for New Year's Eve. Doing New Year's Eve with Ke$ha, we performed in the same studio TRL was taped in, and our dressing room overlooked Times Square and where we stood seven years earlier with my mom. Both were very surreal experiences.

MR: The "Till The World Ends" music video with Britney Spears. I grew up dreaming of being in a major dance music video, and being a part of that was such an incredible experience. I remember seeing the world premiere of "...Baby One More Time" with Donald and following every music video and performance of hers after that. My most recent performance with Ke$ha at a college was also just pure fun. She is a blast to be with onstage.

What are the most rewarding parts of being dancers? And what are your biggest struggles?

MR: One of the most rewarding parts is when you're onstage and you're free. There's no thinking — you just enjoy expressing yourself with your body, and there are exhilarating moments when you connect with people specifically in the audience. The other most rewarding part is taking my family to experience things they don't normally get to. I live backstage, but they don't. To be able to see them see those things gives me a lot of joy. The biggest struggle is trusting is not taking the decisions that the "powers that be" make personally. As Erykah Badu says, you're sensitive about your shit. You have to trust yourself and keep moving on. You have to have a sense of humor.

DR: The most rewarding part of being a dancer is having the opportunity to express yourself through art as your work. There is no feeling that can compare to being on stage and dancing your heart out. There is a lot of rejection and a lot of disappointment. You have to really believe in yourself and be willing to make sacrifices. You sacrifice a lot of your social life and relationships when you dance. Every job I've had I've found out about probably with no more than 48 hours' notice. You always have to be available and it's very hard for friends and family to understand that. While it is rewarding to be able to do something I'm passionate about as a career, at times, it can feel like work. Being around the entertainment industry, it is easy to lose sight of why you've decided to pursue this career in the first place. You have to remember that you are dancing for the love of it, not for the resumé.

How much access to the artists you work with do you have outside of practices? Do you become friendly?

DR: It really depends on the artist. I've worked with artists who I only saw for a little bit during rehearsals and right before we went on stage, but others are extremely friendly and like to hang out during rehearsals with us, go out dancing, and really relate to the people around them as being on the same level. Working with these artists are always the most fun and memorable because you get to see and interact with them in a way most people don't.

What is the biggest faux pas a dancer can make when dealing with a very famous artist?

MR: I would say taking pictures and sharing them during the rehearsal processes, especially early on. The rehearsal space is a sacred place and everybody is learning. What the public sees is a finished and polished product, and the artist shouldn't be worried that you're going to compromise that.

What are your long-term career aspirations as dancers?

DR: I would love to see as much of the world as possible. Artists that I aspire to work with are Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez and Beyoncé.

MR: I'd love to go on a world tour, shoot a holiday commercial, or be on any TV show that I watch avidly. I'd love to be onstage with Beyoncé and do the VMAs. All of these goals really are just part of the biggest goal of mine, which is just to continue to grow as an artist and get more work that helps me to do that. I've been studying acting and other creative endeavors, so in 10 years, I could be doing absolutely anything. That's the best thing about the industry — it can legitimately take you anywhere if you keep yourself open to opportunities outside of whatever plans you've made.

How to Become a Professional Dancer (Step by Step) • BUOM

By Indeed Editorial Team

May 13, 2021

Becoming a professional dancer takes passion, determination and dedication. You must invest time in building your craft in order to have a successful career. Hard work is an important quality that a professional dancer possesses. In this article, we will explain what a professional dancer is, what a professional dancer does, how to become one, skills, salary and job prospects.

What is a professional dancer?

A professional dancer is a person who has the qualifications, skills and training in a particular form of dance. Professional dancers perform a choreographed dance in front of an audience and use their bodies to convey the emotions that tell the story. They specialize in various dance styles such as modern dance, modern dance, street dance, ballet and hip hop and appear in theater productions, films, music videos and Broadway shows.

What does a professional dancer do?

A professional dancer works with directors, choreographers and other dancers to develop dance sequences for performances. Professional dancers work in a professional environment and work in large dance groups. They spend time studying difficult numbers and interpreting the work of the choreographer. Other duties of professional dancers:

  • Spending time rehearsing performances

  • Attendance and preparation for auditions

  • Learning different types of dance.

  • Compliance with safety precautions

  • Training how to use other skills, such as acting or singing

  • Timely appearance at rehearsals, advertising measures and auditions

  • Maintaining good relations with other dancers, instructors and senior staff

Professional dancers work in a wide variety of industries, but generally fall into these three categories. These are:

  • Company dancers: Company dancers are usually hired by one company with which they perform regularly for a long time.

  • Commercial dancers: Commercial dancers are usually freelancers who work on commercial projects including films, music, cruise ships, musicals, and commercials.

  • Dance teachers: Dance teachers often become teachers when they can no longer dance or discover that teaching is their passion.

How to Become a Professional Dancer

Professional dancers are passionate, determined and persistent in achieving their goals. Here are a few steps to help you transition to professional dance:

1. Complete extensive training

No qualification or degree is required to become a professional dancer, but training is an important factor. Professional dancers begin their training at age five and begin auditioning for full-time jobs at age 18. Training helps develop the muscle strength and techniques necessary to turn a talent into a profession. Dance groups and performing arts schools offer students the experience they need to enter professional dance groups. People who are just starting out in dance should start with ballet because it offers an excellent foundation for developing strength, muscle memory and flexibility that will help them in any dance style.

2. Consider getting a bachelor's degree

You don't need a university degree to become a professional dancer, but specializing in dance can give you exposure to a variety of dance genres. You also have the option to focus on a particular dance. A variety of universities and colleges offer majors in dance through visual arts or theater departments. On the dance direction you will learn:

  • Choreography: You learn performance skills through various dance techniques and ways of expressing yourself through choreography.

  • Production: As a student, you will learn about behind-the-scenes production processes. This may include sound work, lightbar control, costumes, lighting design, and stage management.

  • The history of dance: you will learn about the origins of dance and how people from different continents view dance from a social, ceremonial and cultural point of view.

  • Teaching: You will learn how to develop teaching skills to teach people from different age groups and communities.

  • Movement and body alignment: You will learn about muscle coordination and posture.

3. Gain experience

If you want to increase your chances of getting a job as a professional dancer, you should consider moving to a city where entertainment thrives. However, take the time to research the arts communities in your area where you can volunteer to dance. You can also gain experience:

  • Activities: Participation in dance classes helps you develop your skills, stay physically fit and gain experience. Taking dance classes also increases your chances of getting an audition because the director or choreographer may be familiar with your work or have experience working with you.

  • Master Class Attendance: Most of the dance workshops are taught by renowned choreographers and members of dance groups. Choreographers always keep a close eye on who follows instructions and improves. Always try to make a good impression by attending seminars because it may lead to future opportunities.

4. Find out about union jobs

Major dance companies are unionized, and TV, film and Broadway jobs are unionized. You must have a union card to be eligible to audition. The union card identifies you as a legal union member and allows the union to represent you. Some unions representing dancers are:

  • Screen Actors Guild / American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA): They represent dancers, recording artists, emerging writers, stunt performers and other media professionals.

  • Actors Equity Association (AEA): They present Broadway shows.

  • American Guild of Musical Performers (AGMA): They represent the New York City Ballet.

  • American Guild of Variety Artists (AGVA): They represent performing artists.

5. Find a talent agent

Becoming a professional dancer can be tricky; this is why most dancers choose to work with a talent agent. A talent agent is a professional dedicated to helping clients navigate the entertainment industry as well as helping their clients find auditions and submit dance videos and resumes. They facilitate the process of professional dance career. You must take the time to research and find a reputable agent.

The union usually represents a reputable agent. Laws vary from state to state regarding talent agents, but the agent should not require you to pay anything. They are usually paid a 10% deduction from your earnings when you commission a job. You must find an agent who shares your vision and is interested in you. Asking other dancers or choreographers for recommendations is a step in the right direction, or you can check agency websites to see what kind of clients they represent. You should have these three things in mind before contacting your ideal agency:

  • Letter of recommendation: You can ask your dance teacher to write a letter of recommendation that highlights your strengths.

  • Resume: Your resume should detail your education and performance experience, including what you've done, the name of the project you've danced in, and who you work for. If you haven't worked on a professional project yet, you can list competitions, local productions, and musicals you've been in to add to your performance experience.

  • Dance video: The agency wants to see your skills, so make sure you record a number that shows your style and talent.

6. Write Your Resume

When you go to an audition, some people may want your resume. Your dance resume should contain important details, including:

  • Dance Video: This is a short collection of videos that showcase your skills and experience as a dancer. Usually it is several minutes. You must have a dance video no matter what production or project you are applying for.

  • Headshots: Professional headshots are needed because they help choreographers, agents and casting directors remember you. Headshots also provide choreographers and directors with an easier way to decide which dancers are best suited for a company or production. Your headshots should reflect your current look and be crisp.

  • Resume: Your resume should be easy to read, accurate and concise. It must include your full name, phone number, email address, union status, and dance experience.

7. Go to auditions

Auditions are a huge part of being a dancer. You can showcase your skills and talents to industry professionals. The process can be overwhelming, whether you're going to audition for a dance company or college, but preparing for them can make the process easier and less stressful. Here are some things that can help the audition process:

Review the audition application. Many application forms contain important information about how the audition process works. It is extremely important to make a checklist of dress code requirements and rules to make sure you follow them.

  • Do your research: in some cases, you may already know the choreographer you are performing for. Studying their videos to get an idea of ​​their style can give you an idea of ​​how to deliver great performance.

  • Work on your freestyle: Directors or choreographers may want you to freestyle to determine what sets you apart from other dancers. You must practice your freestyle regularly to gain confidence.

  • Rehearse before your audition: For commercial dances, many auditions are done on camera. You should practice your close-ups by asking a friend or family member to film you.

  • Get enough sleep: You should get at least eight hours of sleep before your audition to get the energy and focus you need to perform.

  • Arrive early: To make a good impression, set your alarm for the morning so you can get ready and leave the house early.

  • Dress appropriately: your clothing should be comfortable and appropriate for the style of the dance, and allow for freedom of movement. Your clothing must also comply with the audition rules. Keep in mind that the judges also want to see your body, so wear something appropriate to show off your form. If you're auditioning in a classical category such as ballet, jazz, or modern dance, wear leotards and tights. Some auditions have stricter rules and require you to wear a uniform. Always follow the rules.

  • Watch the judges' reactions: pay attention to how the judges react to other dancers performing. Observing the judges' facial expressions and body language can help you avoid the same mistakes other dancers make and inspire you to improve your performance.

8. Stay healthy

To have a long professional dance career, you must maintain your health and strength. You should avoid processed foods and eat whole foods instead. Also, get regular exercise with cardio workouts like running, swimming, cycling, and weight lifting to strengthen your muscles. This helps to reduce the number of injuries.

Skills of a professional dancer

In addition to being talented, you must have skills that will help you have a successful career. These skills are:

  • Creativity: You must have interesting, innovative ways to express your ideas through dance.

  • Physical strength: You must have excellent mobility and strength to move your body without losing balance or falling, and be able to work for a long time.

  • Interpersonal skills: You must be able to interact effectively with others because you will be working with many people.

  • Discipline: You must have a good attitude, follow the rules and meet the requirements.

  • Persistence: You must remain committed to your years of study and overcome obstacles and disappointments in the future.

  • Active listening: You must be able to pay attention to instructions given by directors and choreographers.

Salary and Job Outlook

According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, dancer employment is expected to grow by 2% from 2019 to 2029. Most jobs come from private dance schools. The average salary for a dancer is $45,905 per year ($19.63 per hour).

IDO Rules : Leader-Dance Dance Center Astrakhan

Section 1:

IDO fees

1. Annual membership fee (in Euros)

  • National federations / National organizations - 500 €.
  • Temporary members - 175 € (no voting rights).
  • Contact person - see below (no voting rights).

The Presidium must determine the annual fee to be paid by the contact person. This fee is reviewed periodically and increased as deemed appropriate.

2. Fees for license holders

Contributions for individual license holders:

  • Dancers, Children, Juniors, Adults and Seniors – 15 €;
  • Observer - 50 €;
  • Clubs and dance clubs - 50 €;
  • Counting fees - 50 €;
  • Organizers - 50 €;
  • Judges and Chief Judges – 50 €.

Formation - 50 €, however, if a club or school has more than one formation team, their maximum contribution must not exceed 100 €.

The license is paid per person and is valid for life. If the book is lost, it must be restored for the same cost.

3. Rules for Licensees

In the event that an Event/Competition is not recognized and sanctioned by the IDO, license holders are not eligible to compete in competitions involving any discipline under the jurisdiction and administration of the IDO, or advertised as a World or Continental Championship.

License holders participating in unrecognized events may have their IDO license revoked.

4. Entry fee for competitions, championships or IDO events

Each dancer is obliged to pay the organizer an entry fee of 5 € per person per event.

Note: an event is what is written in the IDO contract and then published on the IDO website in the calendar.

Penalties for late registration are as follows:

  • Up to seven days before the event, if only the name of the participants is changed - no consequences.
  • After the end of the registration period until the day of the event, the entry fee is doubled.
  • If the organizer allows changes on the day of the event, the entry fee is tripled.

Note: The organizer cannot set a registration end date later than 4 weeks before the event.

Event type Fee for nomination(s)
International championships 1 2 3 4 5 6+
World Championships 750 1. 500 2.250 2.500 2.750 3,000
Continental Championships 500 1.000 1.500 1.750 2,000 2.250
Cups 500 1.000 1.500 1.750 2,000 2.250
Masters 500 1.000 1.500 1.750 2,000 2.250
Grand Prix 500 1.000 1.500 1.750 2,000 2.250
National championships 1 2 3 4 5 6+
Closed National Championships 0 0 0 0 0 0
Team matches between two countries 0 0 0 0 0 0
National Open and Invitational Championships 0 0 150 150 150 500

5. Fees for the right to host IDO events (in Euros)

Section 2: Rules Governing Competitions and Championships

1. Qualifying national entries

The IDO does not guarantee that any or all Sanctioned Events will be held in a particular year.

1.1. Requirements for representatives of countries

Dancers, soloists representing a country at International IDO competitions must be residents and citizens of the country they represent.

At least one person in each duo or pair must be a resident (must reside) and a citizen of the country they represent.

At least two-thirds (2/3) of any small group or formation team must be residents and citizens of the country they represent.

1.2. Quantity quotas per country

Each country can submit the following number of applications according to its IDO rating:


  • The number of invited participants will be proposed by the Organizer and approved by the IDO Contest Committee.
  • In the case of organizing competitions involving new dance styles, the number of participants invited to participate in new dance styles is determined by a joint agreement between the IDO Presidium and the Organizer.

Wild card: One Wild Card may be invited to each Championship at the discretion of the Organizer.

Current champions:

  • As long as the same partnership is maintained, the same discipline is introduced and the dancers remain in the same age division, the current champions are eligible to compete in any IDO Championship.
  • With the exception of groups and formations, the above also applies to Defending Champions in a higher age division as specified in the Wild Card section.

World Championships:

  • First, second and third place winners in any IDO Couple Dance World Cup competition will be eligible for a Wild Card seat in the next IDO Couple Dance World Championship in the same discipline.

CUP, GRAND PRIX and MASTERS: No restrictions

2. Age categories

The following age division applies to all IDO events:

  • Children - 11 years and younger;
  • Juniors - 12-15 years old;
  • Adults 1 - 16-34;
  • Adults 2 - 35-49;
  • Seniors - 50 years and older.

2.1. Definition of age group


A dancer's age is determined by his or her years (ages) performed in the current year of the competition.


For duets/pairs, the age category is determined by the youngest. The junior partner cannot be more than two years younger than the lower age limit for this category, and the age difference between the partners must not exceed three years.

Example: one dancer is 10 years old, the other is 13. They can dance as juniors, but if the youngest was 9 years old, this would no longer be possible.

Note 1: While a junior performer may dance at an older age, another older dancer is not eligible to dance in a junior category.

Note 2: Younger age performer Children who danced in accordance with the example and rule given in the senior category Duo Junior must dance in the senior category in the current competition year. He/she may not dance in the Children duet category with other partners, however he/she may dance in the Children small group or formation category.

Small groups and formation

The same rule applies to all other ages for small groups and formations (exception for Seniors) with the following restrictions:

  • No more than 50% of small group or formation dancers may be under 2 years of age from the lower age limit of the category.
  • The age of the other dancers must be strictly within the indicated age limits.


In the Seniors category, the following rules apply:

  • the average age of the team must be at least 50 years old;
  • at least 50% percent must be aged 50 or over.
  • 3 other team members must be over 40 years old.

The Organizer has the right to enter a group of Children under 7 years of age if it is launched together with the main age of Children 11 years of age and younger.

When the dancers' own music is used, the judges must be informed of the title of the piece, either voiced or in writing. It is the dancer's responsibility to inform the organizer of this information.

3. Dance disciplines

3.1. Performing Art Dances Committee

  • Dance Show
  • Step
  • Belly dance
  • Folk, Character, Ethnic Dance
  • Jazz
  • Modern
  • Acrobatic/Gymnastic Dance
  • Ballet
  • Production

3.2. Street Dance Committee

  • Hip-hop
  • Disco (Floor) Traditional
  • Disco (Floor) Freestyle
  • Disco Show
  • Break Dance
  • Electric Boogie

3. 3. Special Couples Dance Committee

  • Salsa
  • Merengue
  • Disco Fox\Disco Hustle\Disco Swing
  • Argentine Tango
  • Salsa Rueda de Casino
  • Swing
  • Mixed Blues
  • Bugg/Double Bugg
  • Street Latina
  • Street Mambo
  • American Mambo
  • Historical and everyday/folklore formations
  • Nordic Tango
  • Theatrical performance art
  • Latin Show

3.4. Possible other disciplines

  • Mixed Dance-1, Mixed Dance-2
  • New Fashion (New Vogue)
  • Historical
  • American Ballroom
  • American Rhythm
  • Sequence/Round
  • Country/Western
  • Wheel Chair Freestyle
  • Synchronized Dance

4. IDO event categories

  • Solo - male and/or female (if different, to be reflected in position)
  • Duet - two men, two women or a man and a woman
  • Couples - man and woman
  • Small group - 3-7 dancers
  • Formation - 8-24 dancers
  • Production - 25 or more dancers

5. Entry conditions

At least three months before the competition, invitations for all National Federations/IDO affiliates will be posted on the IDO website. These invitations will include advance information about all activities that will be held and the age categories offered. Applications will not be accepted after the deadline unless they are approved by the Organizer.

All entries in these competitions must be submitted on the official IDO entry forms, which must be sent to the IDO Head Office by the National Member Committee.

The IDO head office will then verify the name, age and license of each participant and send them to the Organizer.

In the event of changes and/or replacements, the validity requirements will be checked in accordance with point 3 above. Such changes will be accepted before the application deadline, but only if they are submitted in the Official Application Form in accordance with paragraph 2 above.

After the specified period, changes will be accepted only with the approval of the Organizer no later than four days before the competition. Special requests can be fulfilled with the consent of the Organizer.

6. Entry accreditation of participants and officials

The procedures listed below will be carried out before the start of all IDO competitions.

Presentation of IDO licenses to IDO officials and collection of licensed books.

Presentation of your music to IDO Officials, if necessary.

Acceptance of start numbers and all necessary competition materials.

Completion of arrangements for accommodation, meals, tickets and tours.

Payment of any balances due.

Submission of any special requests regarding music, entry, etc.

Each dancer is responsible for entering his place in the start book. Dancers who cannot bring their starter books to any IDO event must purchase new ones.

If provided by the Organizer, identification badges, banners or VIP cards must be provided upon request and must be respected by all participants.

7. Issue/issuance of free tickets

Solo, Duos, Couples or Small Groups

The organizer is required to issue one free event ticket for every ten or fewer participants per country. The names of those who require free tickets must be clearly stated in the Official Application.

All other escorts are required to purchase regular tickets. Free tickets must be handed over to the team captain.


The organizer is obliged to provide each formation team with 4 free tickets. These tickets can be used for reserve dancers, staff, bus drivers, etc. The names of those seeking free tickets must be clearly stated on the Official Application. Free tickets must be handed over to the team captain.

VIP passes:

Presidents of National IDO Member Organizations not officially participating in the competition will receive a free admission ticket or, if provided by the Organizer, a free pass to all events. This courtesy will extend to any associate or guest accompanying such presidents. At the discretion of the Organizer, other VIP passes may be issued if necessary. One official representative from each country must be provided with a free pass to all areas of the event, with the exception of restricted areas such as the judges' briefing room, controller's (observer's) office, etc.

Every effort must be made to allow all competitors to see the remainder of the competition in the hall or on television after the performance has ended.

8. Award Ceremony at International Competitions

Each dancer in an International IDO Competition must receive a certificate stating the place taken by either the dancer or the team.

At all IDO competitions, except for the World Championships for children and juniors, the organizer is obliged to award cups and trophies or similar prizes to all finalists.

At the World Championships, the organizer will present the Official IDO World Championship Awards for first place in solo, men and women if required, duets, couples, small groups and formation. Smaller awards are given from second to sixth place. In addition, the winners (first, second and third places) are awarded gold, silver and bronze medals respectively.

In the category Children and Juniors at the World Championships, the organizer awards the Official IDO World Championship Awards for the first place. In addition, the winners (first, second and third places) are awarded gold, silver and bronze medals respectively.

Note: The organizer of any IDO event may establish any prize proposed by the sponsor, etc. For example: For unique choreography, Best costume, Original stage presentation or other nominations proposed by National Members, Schools or Benefactors

All monetary and non-monetary prizes that are associated with advertising and promotion must be awarded. This award must be held within the framework of the event.

8.1. Delivery by transport of participants at international events IDO

All participants pay their own way to the place of registration.

The organizer is obliged to provide transportation from the place of residence to the places of registration and the event, if the participants do not have their own transport.

For those who have their own transport, the Organizer is obliged to reimburse the actual cost of travel from the place of residence to the venue, if this distance exceeds 10 kilometers.

8.2. Catering for participants at international events IDO

The organizer is obliged to offer catering services at reasonable prices in the immediate vicinity of the venue.

If possible, organize this service directly at the venue.

8.3. Accommodation/accommodation of participants at international events IDO

  • The organizer is obliged to find suitable accommodation for all participants and make every effort to ensure that everyone is accommodated.
  • The organizer can deal with the issue of accommodation on their own, or give recommendations to participants on hotels.
  • If the participants need a transfer from the airport / train station to the hotel and back, they must make a request to the organizer no later than 10 days in advance.
  • This transfer is paid by the participants.

9. Ethics, conduct and rules for participants

9.1. Participation in events not authorized or recognized by the IDO

All IDO license holders are not allowed to participate in any competition in a discipline under the jurisdiction of the IDO and advertised as a World or Continental Championship unless the event is sanctioned or fully recognized by the IDO. Performers participating in an unrecognized or unauthorized event may have their IDO license revoked.

9.2. Ethics of conduct

Dancers must always behave with dignity, showing the manner of a real athlete.

Dancers should communicate with each other as they would like to be communicated with them.

All dancers must be able to lose with dignity and win accordingly.

Acts of violence or intimidation directed at Organizers, Judges or dancers are unacceptable and must be avoided during the course of the event.

9.3. Rules of conduct backstage and around the stage

Dancer must:

  • be punctual and behave properly;
  • be friendly to nearby dancers and never let you be inattentive to the current performance;
  • be calm and refrain from commenting during warm-up or rehearsal while waiting for your performance;
  • to do their best to keep changing rooms, toilets and backstage areas clean and to dispose of trash in designated areas.

9.4. Behavior while in public

Dancer must:

  • treat other dancers and nations with respect, must refrain from making unnecessary noise and movement during performances;
  • , together with the fans, refrain from loud horn noises that may disturb the referees, the audience and the performers. However, the creation of a good atmosphere and the support of the speakers are encouraged;
  • know that they may be disqualified if they throw any object on the stage or interfere with the speakers.

9.5. Behavior outside the venue

The dancer must always behave with dignity at IDO events, whether at the venue or at the hotel or other venues. Violation of conduct may result in disqualification and removal from the event.

Any act of violence or aggression against those present may result in immediate disqualification and future exclusion from IDO events.

Any violation of host country laws may result in immediate disqualification and future exclusion from IDO events.

9.6. Be a good sports and dance ambassador

Each dancer must always act in a friendly manner towards his opponents.

All dancers together must act in such a way as to leave a good memory of the events of IDO.

9.7. Creating a positive image of Dance for the audience

Dancers must do everything to create a proper and positive image of the dance for the audience.
This requires:

Music should always be age appropriate. Words must not contain unacceptable expressions, especially in the categories of Children and Juniors.

The theme and choreography must be age appropriate and must not contain vulgarity or ambiguous movements that are unacceptable.

The costume must also be age-appropriate and not indecent. It must be in good taste.

The overall image must be in good taste and not cause indignation of anyone in the audience.

Note: Unacceptable music, theme, choreography, costume or overall image may result in loss of points, and in the event of a massive violation of the specified parameters, disqualification.

9.8. IDO Code of Ethics and Conduct for Dancers, Coaches and Choreographers

  • All teachers, coaches, captains and choreographers, hereinafter Educators, at IDO events must conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times. They must always act with dignity and demonstrate the behavior of real athletes.
  • Teachers should always respect the colleagues present, and refrain from incorrect and defiant statements in relation to both other teachers and dancers.
  • Educators have the right to request the results of any event, but this must be done directly with the organizer, observer or chief judge. Having solved this question once in this way, the Teacher will avoid unnecessary fuss in the future.
  • The instructor has the right to question the result of any event, but this must be done in private with the Organizer, Supervisor or Chairman of the Judges. Once a decision is made, the educator should accept it without fuss. Any further requests for such a decision must be submitted in writing to the Disciplinary Committee for consideration.
  • Under no circumstances may Educators bribe, threaten or otherwise intimidate the Organizer or IDO officials. Doing so will result in instant expulsion from the event and further sanctions from the Disciplinary Committee.
  • Educators are not allowed to ask questions of the judges about the marks they gave and the criteria they used when judging the dancers.

10. Duties of Teachers

  • Educators must ensure that all dancers participating in IDO events are aware of the Code of Conduct for Dancers set out in these Rules.
  • Educators must be confident that their dancers will behave well, both in and out of the venue.
  • Educators must ensure that their dancers are respectful of other dancers, and that they do not distract performing competitors, whether in the audience, getting ready to enter, or while in the lobby where the competition is taking place.
  • Educators must ensure that their dancers are ready to leave on time.
  • Educators should remember that their dancers must not leave the dance hall before the results of their performance are posted so that they do not miss a re-dance if necessary.
  • Educators must ensure that their final dancers attend the award ceremony and conduct themselves in a graceful and dignified manner.
  • Teachers are required to ensure that the general schedule of the event is observed and that the presence of dancers is prepared one hour before the start of the performances.
  • Educators must do everything possible to ensure that its dancers keep the locker rooms, toilets and backstage clean, and take out the resulting garbage to the designated places.

Competitions. General rules and regulations

Note: The Presidium has the right to make changes or amendments, however, this must be communicated to all members no later than 6 months before each event.

1. Music

  • The music must be of high quality and of good recording quality so that all dancers can hear it.
  • Live music cannot be used.
  • Music must be brought by the dancer.
  • Media can be cassettes, CDs, or minidiscs.
  • The entry must be of high quality, legible and have a specific beginning.
  • The media must be clearly labeled with the name of the artist or song, country, and title of the music.
  • The media must contain only one composition.
  • The media is handed over to the organizer at registration.
  • The work should not contain dubious words, screensavers and sounds that may cause indignation of the audience.
  • Speakers must inform the Organizer if they enter the stage at the same time as the music, after or before the start of the composition, as well as if there are stops or pauses in the sound of the melody.
  • Before the start of the event, the organizer must be sure that all materials provided comply with the rules. Any performance in violation of the musical accompaniment will be excluded from the event and the performers will be prohibited from further performance. The decision on the issue is taken by the Observer and the Chief Judge in cooperation with the Organizer.
  • The music provided by the Organizer must be approved by the IDO no later than 6 months before the event and must always comply with the ideals and rules of the IDO.
  • IDO offers musical accompaniment for disciplines performed to the music of the organizer. These melodies meet all the standards of a particular dance discipline. The Observer must always have a complete set of melodies of all disciplines developed by IDO.

2. Permissible number of dancers in competitions held to the music of the organizer

For Street Dance / Pop disciplines

Qualifying rounds: No more than six (6) soloists and no more than three (3) duets, couples or small groups, unless otherwise stated in the rules for a particular discipline.

Semi-finals: No more than two (2) soloists, duos, couples or small groups, unless otherwise stated in the rules for a particular discipline

Final: Everyone dances separately.

3. Competition format

  • A maximum of 24 soloists or 12 couples/duos in competitions can dance in a common entry to the music of the organizer. The duration of the "warm-up" and final exit is up to 90 seconds (one and a half minutes) each. After the starting exit, everyone dances the time prescribed by the rules
  • The performance of the groups is regulated by the paragraph "Warm-up rule and set time".
  • Everyone who dances to their own music performs one at a time.
  • Choreography using the same costume and music cannot be used in another category in the same competition.

Example: What was used in the formation cannot be performed in small groups, duets or solos.

4. Dance floor or stage. Dimensions and quality


For solos, duos or couples - 8 X 8m, (24’ X 24’) minimum.

For groups or formations - 12 X 14m (36' X 42') minimum.


The dance floor must be of high quality, without obstacles and suitable for the specific dance discipline.

Tape requires a special coating.

Baletizol, Marley or other synthetic materials may be used for all dance disciplines, provided they are of good quality.

For Disco Freestyle, it is possible to use acrobatic mats, however, it is necessary to ensure that their installation and dismantling takes place as quickly as possible.

5. Warm-up rules and set times

The following rules must be followed in all competitions during the warm-up.

IDO disciplines performed to the music of the organizers:

Time limit 10 minutes. All dancers warm up together.

Other disciplines:

  • Solo, duets, couples - time limit 20 minutes. All dancers warm up at the same time without music (dry warm-up).
  • Small Groups and Formation - no more than 5 minutes are given for each group or formation to warm up to the music.

Note: The organizer may provide more warm-up time on equal time terms for all.

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