Dance As a Career: Part 1

Dance is not only a passion anymore. It’s a new-age career. Of course, it’s among the unconventional career options. But, it’s worth considering if you have got the passion and talent. In this guest post, Dance Guru & Bollywood Choreographer, Shiamak Davar talks about how to make a career in dance in India.


How to Make Career in Dance in India

By Shiamak Davar


Dance is now a viable career option in India. Today, as I see boys and girls from all over the country striving to break into the field of performing arts, I’m overjoyed and grateful that dance is now accepted as a career. Whether as a performer, dance instructor, choreographer or entrepreneur in the field of the performing arts; there are a plethora of opportunities.


Being a first-hand witness through the transitional phase of western dance in India, the last thirty years have been a revolution of sorts. I’ve observed a positive and impactful change in people’s attitude towards dance as a career. The industry has opened up tremendously, arts and culture have become hugely popular and in effect, people don’t fear to make their passion a profession. This transitional change in people and the overall market has opened doors.


Belonging to a family of educationists, I’ve always understood the importance of education. I grew up under the influence of my parents, graduates from Massachusetts Institutes of Technology (MIT) and Founded of Davar’s College of Commerce in 1900. Though I always found comfort and a sense of belonging in performing arts, I always knew the importance of having a strong academic background. Only on completing my graduation did my parents allow me to pursue my passion.


Passion is at the forefront of anything that you want to do in life. Each of us is blessed with a talent that is unique to us. When you enter a dance studio, you should feel at home; there is a sense of belonging. A dancer must always be hungry to learn, to keep improving and working on their skill. Passion for the dance will come from within and it is this passion that will make you realize that you were born to dance. If you are not passionate about dance, after a while either it will start feeling like a “job” or you will stop enjoying the experience of choreographing, learning and dancing. This is the foremost premise for choosing what people refer to as an offbeat career option that makes one feel satisfied with their professional choice.


For someone to make dance a career, I’ve always insisted and laid stress on the importance of training. With easy access to the internet, most people skip this training phase and become professionals just by watching videos and probably copying them. But people must understand that you can harm your students if you aren’t trained. It is essential to learn professionally before you begin to pass on the knowledge.


Technically, to make it a profession, one must be flexible, agile and have an understanding and knowledge of music and rhythm. Being a versatile dancer will give them an edge of being able to adapt to different movements and dance styles. Dance is not just physical experience, but a mental, emotional and spiritual one too. You need to be mentally strong to sustain hours of rehearsals, years of struggle and decades to find acceptance. If you have a grounding in either ballet or Indian Classical dance forms, your foundation will be extremely strong. These styles form the basis and prepare you for any other dance style. In terms of technique, understanding of the body, positioning the weight, balance… the overall understanding and adaptability become easier.


The talent in our country is unbelievable. Whether it is becoming a dance instructor in schools, teaching hobby classes, teaching families for Sangeets, performing in films and award shows, being a part of professional teams that perform in musicals or even going abroad and taking up dance full time; the prospects are endless. What is the most important is to constantly have that hunger to learn, train and then pass on the knowledge.


To seek satisfaction in what you choose to make your career comes from a wholehearted commitment towards it. With training, you achieve a sense of confidence in passing on the knowledge, from making the most of the opportunities you get a sense of achievement and this gives you a sense of fulfillment. And the most satisfaction comes when you share and spread your knowledge and help others experience the same joy you derive from the art form you excel in and believe in.


Read: Dance as a Career (Part 2) by Shiamak Davar

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