Dance Advice

5 ways you can diversify your skills in movement related fields

Photo by Tim Cross, courtesy of the Royal Academy of Dance.

Dancers are agile and intelligent individuals, who have the capacity to learn quickly, adopt new information and strike with precision. So when it comes to evolving in a climate that has posed multiple challenges, especially financially, all it takes is some innovative thinking to build upon one’s skill set. 

This can be done by moving into a related field to either supplement your income, create flexibility around auditions and study commitments, or to future proof a career for life after the stage.

Naturally, dancers are already critical thinkers who constantly work to improve anatomical alignment and technique. They are able to problem solve in a collaborative team environment, work hard and present themselves professionally. Taking into account these traits, we explore five career paths for dancers in related fields, which incorporates movement and anatomy. 

#1. Dance teacher 

Photo by Elliott Franks, courtesy of Royal Academy of Dance.
Photo by Elliott Franks,
courtesy of Royal Academy of Dance.

Becoming a dance teacher is one of the most natural progressions for dancers to further their careers. If you enjoy working with multiple age groups, in various styles, and have a true interest in understanding movement, dance education and inspiring others, then this may be a natural step for you. 

Depending on your direction, there are many study options to suit multiple avenues in which you could work, such as a local dance studio, public and private schools, universities and online, and more. For training through the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), visit au.royalacademyofdance.org

Photo courtesy of North Balgowlah School of Dance.
Photo courtesy of North Balgowlah School of Dance.

Teresa Geraghty, director of North Balgowlah School of Dance, RAD, A.I.S.T.D, RAMBERT), notes, “Teaching dance is something like a blend and balance of science and art to create the most beautiful and technical movements. To understand the way the body works is vital to make the best of a dancer’s training.”

Think back to your favourite teachers — what made them special? Do you have the qualities it takes to be an inspirational teacher? 

#2. Barre Body teacher training 

Barre Body.
Barre Body.

Alternatively, over the years of refining your technique through mat or reformer Pilates, you would have most likely adopted an interest in gaining deeper understanding into the mechanisms of the body. 

Barre Body teacher training offers face-to-face and online courses, in barre, reformer and mat Pilates. These comprehensive courses cover in-depth anatomy and physiology, alignment principles, industry leading repertoire, dynamic and effective teaching skills, formatting and sequencing, and looks at common injuries and competency modifications, variations for beginners to advanced students, and more.

If you are a lover of movement and anatomy, and looking to diversify yourself with experience in the boutique fitness industry, then becoming a qualified trainer could be for you. With a strong global reputation, graduates are teaching worldwide, giving them the freedom and flexibility to study and teach anywhere. 

Barre Body teacher training.

Kristin Scott, Barre Body graduate, former professional dancer and studio owner of Barre Effect, says, “Everything Barre Body does is done well. The course is so comprehensive and detailed. There is a lot of theory to support the practical components of the course which is great, along with the flexibility and feedback that you get.”

The next face-to-face Barre Course Teacher Training is in Melbourne, May 21-23 and 27-30. To find out more about enrolments, head to training.barrebody.com.au/p/may-barre-teacher-training-melbourne. For online courses, visit training.barrebody.com.au/courses.

#3. Acrobatics artist and coach

Have you ever had a dream about running away with the circus? The National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) is Australia’s centre of excellence in contemporary circus arts training, offering Australia’s only Bachelor of Circus Arts. Accredited by Swinburne University of Technology, NICA is located at its Prahran campus. With a strong international reputation, the institute attracts applicants from across the globe. Entry into the Bachelor Degree and Certificate IV Course is incredibly popular, so if you are interested in application details for 2022 which open mid-2021, visit www.nica.com.au.

Photo courtesy of National Institute of Circus Arts.
Photo courtesy of
National Institute of Circus Arts.

With acro becoming increasingly sought after, having the right skills to teach the movement form safely is critical. The movement form mixes gymnastics, yoga, ballet and Pilates, and courses for coaches such as the Acrobatic Dance Association enable dance teachers and dance students to achieve stable and secure acrobatic skills and quality movement in a safe manner. To find out more, visit acrobaticdanceassociation.com.au.  

#4. Dance medicine

Sports psychology, safe dance and fitness training is imperative for the longevity of the mind and body. Dance medicine explores mental well-being and rehabilitation for dancers to work with injuries and eliminate future issues. 

Dance medicine also provides expertise guidance to enable dancers to perform at a high standard keeping their main tool — the body — safe. When injured, it is vital for dancers to have a practitioner who understands what movements can and can’t be done, in order to return to dance and sustain one’s career and mental health through setbacks. 

Former dancer Dr Jason Lam (Crichton Dance Medicine Fellow, The Australian Ballet; BDM, BMBS, DCH, MSportsMed, FRACGP GP, GP skin cancer surgeon ACSEP registrar, Team Dr Sandringham Zebras) is a testament of one intelligent dancer who has moved and worked across various related fields. 

“My work involves seeing people from all walks of life who want to feel better or perform better, whether they are suffering pain and dysfunction, illness, mental health challenges, or want to be more active,” Lam says. “In terms of skin cancer surgery, it’s entirely anatomically based — knowing how tissue moves and stretches, how best to move things around to fill the defect while preserving anatomical structures is important.”  

He continues, “For many people with pain and dysfunction as their issue, I look at the combination of structure and function. Working out their individual anatomical nuances and how they move is key to beginning to help them. I also try and gauge what else is going on in their life, in their mind as all that impacts on their lived experience.” 

You can learn more about dance medicine through the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science

#5. Progressing Ballet Technique

Photo courtesy of Progressing Ballet Technique.
Photo courtesy of
Progressing Ballet Technique.

Avoiding injury is always imperative. Progressing Ballet Technique (PBT) is an innovative body conditioning and strengthening program created by Marie Walton-Mahon that has been designed to enhance students’ technique by focussing on training the muscle memory required in each exercise in all forms of dance. It is a unique training system using ballet technique-specific exercises to train skill acquisition in a graded and progressive manner from junior through to advanced levels. PBT helps teachers around the world prepare their students to receive the strength they need to achieve their personal best.

Li Cunxin, artistic director of Queensland Ballet and author of best-selling autobiography Mao’s Last Dancer, says, “Marie is a very experienced ballet teacher. She has trained and nurtured many wonderful students in the past. I have utmost respect for her as a teacher. Her supplementary training method is of real benefit to dance students. The effective exercises will strengthen their core stability, muscle control, balance and help their dancing.”

PBT offers two avenues to gain certification in the program: one-day in-person certification workshops and the online certification program on www.pbt.dance. Due to COVID-19, more people opted for the online certification program, as workshops around the world were postponed. 

Photo courtesy of Progressing Ballet Technique.
Photo courtesy of
Progressing Ballet Technique.

The online training caters to both teachers and students of any dance genre or athletics. As an online member, you get access to over 350 PBT exercises in video tutorial format, along with comprehensive notes and FAQs on every exercise. New exercises are uploaded monthly. PBT offers a free trial to view all of the exercises before committing to a subscription.

With an array of avenues to consider and innovative thinking, diversifying your skill set will undoubtedly offer you a deeper understanding as a dancer, movement and anatomy lover to evolve in the field and beyond. 

By Renata Ogayar of Dance Informa.

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