Photo Courtesy Tunai Jones

Booking a gig on a cruise ship can feel like you're diving into the unknown—dropping everything to live in the middle of the ocean without family, friends or cell service. But cruise jobs can also offer incredible rewards, like traveling the world for free and delving into a new style.

Is ship life the right fit for you? Here are some elements to consider.

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Tiler Peck and Joaquin De Luz in Dances at a Gathering. Photo by Paul Kolnik, courtesy NYCB

All dancers work hard to hone technical skills and master thrilling moves. Musical dancers, however, offer something more. Their daring play with rhythm and their completely present reactions to the score make for bold performances that are mesmerizing to watch.

But how can performers learn to let music drive the dance? We asked some of today's most musical dancers how they do it.

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Tracy Inman teaching Horton technique at the Ailey School. PC Eduardo Patino

In a competitive dance world where students train to conquer the next big thing, it can feel like historic modern techniques—from Graham to Horton to Cunningham—just aren't a priority. But the truth is, these styles are just as relevant today as when they were created.

University of Taipei students in José Limón's work. PC Yi-Chun Wu

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Matthew Murphy for Pointe

When Michael Vadacchino, co-founder of the online dancewear store Boys Dance Too, visited a competition to ask a customer if he would model for the site, he was able to find him easily. This boy was one of only three in the entire competition.

Small numbers like these are why Vadacchino and his business partner, Sarah Singer, have planned their next venture: The Male Dancer Conference.

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Participants in the 2017 Jimmy Awards. Photo by Henry McGee, Courtesy The Broadway League.

Anyone worried about the future of live musical theater in a world full of tablets and earbuds and endlessly streaming video would have been relieved to be at the Minskoff Theatre on Monday night, as dozens of young singer-dancer-actors from all over the country paraded their formidable talents. No, it wasn't a performance of The Lion King, the theater's usual tenant. The Minskoff was borrowed for the night by the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, better known as the Jimmy Awards.

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When you're training, it can feel like all you need to succeed in the dance world is artistic talent and drive. But once you make the leap into the professional world, you may find out just how much you don't know about making it as a dancer.

When I started my professional career, I soon realized that all the time and money my parents and I had invested in my training still hadn't fully prepared me to make it as a freelance dancer—especially one who had plenty of bills and student loans to pay. Only after years of trial and error, failures and mega-hustle did I start to figure out how to navigate professional dance life in a remotely sustainable way. Here are a few lessons I've learned along the way.

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Cameron Grant, Sterling Hyltin and Tyler Angle. PC Krista Schlueter via The New York Times

Live music is an essential part of any dance class. But aside from a polite "thank you" afterwards, dancers—and teachers—often don't give enough thought to the musician who's making the magic happen.

I worked as a dance musician for over three decades, and was fortunate to play for some of the field's greatest artists. I now teach musicians how to play for ballet, modern and contemporary dance in my Accompanying Movement class at the University of Michigan.

I train my students to know the ins and outs of dance classes of varying styles. In return, we sometimes wish our collaborative partners understood more about what we bring to the studio:

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PC Kyle Froman, Courtesy Ailey

Attending the right summer intensive at the right time can be life-changing—and potentially career-launching. But it's up to you to make the most of the experience. From building your technique to trying new styles to expanding your network, getting everything you want from an intensive takes focus and planning. Strategize for success with these tips from five professional dancers looking back on what they wish they'd done differently during their own summer study years.

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