Fact Checked

How Do I Become a Backup Dancer?

Erin J. Hill
Erin J. Hill

The first step you will take if you want to become a backup dancer is to become an excellent dancer through lessons and considerable practice. Once you have the necessary skills, you can audition for a talent agency to try and gain representation. Most backup dancers land jobs through auditions scheduled by these agencies. You may also be able to take part in contests to land positions as a backup dancer although these opportunities are less common.

In order to become a backup dancer you will need to gain several years experience in dancing. You should probably choose the exact type of work you want to do, since there is a wide range of dance types. Most backup dancers work in theater productions, although you may aim to work as a dancer for a major music artist in music videos or on tours. Both arenas are very difficult to break into, due to heavy competition. The type of dance you take will probably depend on the type of jobs you want to land.

Backup dancing may require extreme strength, flexibility, and fitness.
Backup dancing may require extreme strength, flexibility, and fitness.

Once you are accomplished in your particular type of dance, you should make every effort to be seen. You will likely begin by dancing in local productions and in local clubs. When you are confident in your abilities to perform in front of a crowd, the next step to become a backup dancer is to audition and land a contract with a talent agency.

Talent agencies employ experts in the various fields who have industry connections. Your agent will land auditions for you to give you a better chance of breaking into the field. Most big name productions won't see dancers who do not have an agent. Even if someone is willing to allow you to audition, you will usually be taken more seriously and given more consideration if you do have an agent. The talent agents work to find good talent, so those who are doing the hiring will assume that you have some level of talent if you are with a reputable agency.

Most backup dancers work in theater productions.
Most backup dancers work in theater productions.

Once you have an agent, you will up your chances of being able to become a backup dancer if you attend as many auditions as possible. Don't expect to land the job of your dreams the first time, but gain experience working in smaller productions first to add to your resume. Once you have proven yourself as a hardworking and reliable person, you will be much more likely to become a backup dancer in larger productions.

You might also Like

Discussion Comments


When I was younger and in the prime of by clubbing days, my friends and I would hit several of the local hot spots on the weekends. If I must say so myself, I was a good dancer back then. I tell this to my kids all of the time, but they don't believe me.

Anyway, when we were at the clubs we would often run into these girls and guys who were trying to make it as professional dancers. And they would do like the article suggests and go from club to club just getting on the floor and dancing. Sometimes they just free styled and other times they worked on simple routines.

These guys and girls were by far the best dancers in the clubs, and they were a bit like celebrities. I don't know what ever happened to them, but they were very good.


@Laotionne - I think the problem with earning a living as a dancer isn't that the job is not fun, but rather that the positions are very difficult to come by. My girlfriend is a dancer and she is very good. She has a degree in dance and has experience. Even so, she has to teach dance classes in order to make a living.

Even the dancers who dance in popular music videos don't make a great deal of money. You have to love dancing and forget about the money to a certain degree. Most dancers don't earn decent livings.


When I watch music videos one of the first things I look for are the backup dancers. Most backup dancers are ten times better at dancing than the people they are backing up. After all, dancing is how the dancers earn an living. The musicians make music first and perform and dance to complement the music they make.

I wish I could be a backup dancer. I think this would be one of my dream jobs. I can't think of a better way to make money and earn a living.

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • Backup dancing may require extreme strength, flexibility, and fitness.
      By: Alexander Yakovlev
      Backup dancing may require extreme strength, flexibility, and fitness.
    • Most backup dancers work in theater productions.
      By: Wisky
      Most backup dancers work in theater productions.