How to Become a Dancer

So you want to dance?

Two dancers rehearsing

Tom Werner/DigitalVision/Getty Images

So you want to become a dancer. Here are six steps to help you get started. 

1. Choose a Dance Style

If you'd like to become a dancer, you should first spend some time choosing a dance style. Each type of dance is made up of techniques that need to be practiced and mastered. Your goals as a dancer will help you to decide which style of dance is right for you.

Also ask yourself: Do you want to dance professionally? Or do you simply want to learn for fun?

2. Find a Dance Class

Once you have decided to become a dancer, it is important to carefully choose a dance class. Your choice of a dance teacher is critical, especially if you plan to pursue dancing professionally. It is easy to form bad habits in the beginning and extremely hard to correct them. Most importantly, choose a teacher who you admire as a dancer.

Learn more about picking your class (or dance group) and teacher with tips for dance team tryouts and examples of things to look for in a dance teacher.

Note: You may have to try a few dance classes and teachers before you find the dance style and environment that resonates with you the best. 

3. Know What to Wear

Your wardrobe of dance clothing will be determined by the type of dancer you choose to become. Special dance shoes will be required for many dance styles, including ballet slippers and eventually pointe shoes for ballet and tap shoes for tap.

Here are some helpful tips for buying ballet shoes.

Your dance teacher will probably have a preference for clothing, such as a black leotard with pink tights for ballet, or black dance pants for jazz dance.

4. Know What to Expect

If you are enrolled in your very first dance class, make a point to tour the dance studio before your first day. Many dance studios are large and airy, with at least one full wall of mirrors. The floors of dance studios should be soft, as dancing on hard floors may cause injuries.

Class structures will vary for different dance styles. Expect a hip-hop class to be much more relaxed than a class of classical ballet. 

5. Study the Terms and Phrases

Confused about a dance step? Check out a dance glossary to become familiar with the terms for various dance styles. Learn the names of basic ballet steps (often in French), ballroom dancer lingo and much more.

6. Get Connected to the Community

Get connected with other dancers and the dance community, both in person and online. Check out online dance forums and social media groups to share moves, ask for advice, talk about dancing and make new friends.

Also, sign up for other related free newsletters, like health and fitness, to enhance your knowledge about the the body, which will ultimately contribute to your success as a dancer.

Watch Now: Tips to Becoming a Professional Ballet Dancer