Pace University students. Photo by Eduardo Patino, Courtesy Pace University

What It Takes to Make It As A Commercial Dancer

The commercial dance world is full of exciting opportunities for dancers: music videos, Broadway shows, international concert tours. But how do dancers develop the skill set needed to survive in such a fast-paced industry? College is one option, and a few programs focus specifically on commercial dance. Here's how Studio School, Los Angeles and Pace University prepare students for a demanding career:


1. Versatility

Photo by Chandler Kravitz, Courtesy Studio School

Commercial dancers need to be prepared to tackle a wide variety of gigs, so students take classes like tap, circus arts, hip hop, ballroom, aerial work, improvisation and more.

2. Entrepreneurial skills

Photo by Eduardo Patino, Courtesy Pace

Image and online presence are key to landing jobs in the commercial world. Students learn about branding, marketing and social media as part of their curriculums.

3. Networking

Photo by Eduardo Patino, Courtesy Pace

Pace students can travel to Los Angeles and meet with agents, who regularly attend showcases and performances. Talent agency McDonald/Selznick Associates helped shape Studio School's curriculum, so students are learning skills that agents wish their clients knew.

4. Acting chops

Photo by Chandler Kravitz, Courtesy Studio School

Studio School students take 26 credits of on-camera acting technique, and Pace students study acting and singing.

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Go Behind the Scenes of USC Kaufman’s Virtual Dance Festival

Now more than ever, the students of USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance are embodying their program's vision: "The New Movement."

As the coronavirus pandemic stretches on, the dance world continues to be faced with unprecedented challenges, but USC Kaufman's faculty and BFA students haven't shied away from them. While many schools have had to cancel events or scale them back to live-from-my-living-room streams, USC Kaufman has embraced the situation and taken on impressive endeavors, like expanding its online recruitment efforts.

November 1 to 13, USC Kaufman will present A/Part To/Gather, a virtual festival featuring world premieres from esteemed faculty and guest choreographers, student dance films and much more. All semester long, they've rehearsed via Zoom from their respective student apartments or hometowns. And they haven't solely been dancing. "You have a rehearsal process, and then a filming process, and a production process of putting it together," says assistant professor of practice Jennifer McQuiston Lott of the prerecorded and professionally edited festival.

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