About Dare to Dance

Dare to Dance was born from a vision of a better dance industry. The purpose of Dare to Dance is to empower dancers to follow their dreams. It is here to say “yes” to people who have been told “no”.

Do you love dance? Do you dream of having a career in the dance industry?

Have you also been told that, for whatever reason, you’re not likely to “make it?” Have you looked at the path ahead, seen so many obstacles in the way of you reaching your dream, and thought that this simply isn’t going to be possible for you?

I’m here to tell you that you can achieve your dreams. You don’t need to wait for someone to give you permission by telling you that you’re good enough and that you have a chance.

There are a lot of old-fashioned myths and beliefs in the dance industry, and not a lot is done to address them, so every day talented dancers get discouraged and give up on their dreams.

Maybe you found that professional dance training is really expensive and your family can’t afford it. Maybe you’re a person of colour who looks at the all-white ensemble of your dream company and feels unwelcome there. Maybe you’ve been told that you’re too tall or short, that you’re overweight or the wrong shape, or that for whatever reason you don’t have the right physical facility for your dance style (ballet dancers without perfect feet/ legs/ turnout, I see you). Maybe you have a disability or difference, and you’re not sure where you fit in the industry. Maybe, like me, you started your dance journey late in life and have been told that it’s just too late for you. And maybe you’ve been told, or led to believe, that you’re simply not good enough.

I’m going to tell you a secret. You don’t need permission to pursue a professional career in dance. You don’t need to wait to be invited- for someone to spot your potential and tell you that you can make it. You can choose right now to follow your dreams, to believe in yourself, and demand to be seen. Perhaps you want to pursue a dance career in ways other than performing- through choreography, through dance writing, mentoring, teaching, dancing for TV and film- maybe you want to mix it up and do a little bit of everything. It’s all valid. It’s all a professional career and you can design the kind of career that you want to have. If you don’t want a professional dance career at all, and you’re called to something else, but you want to dance for the love of it, then amazing! Do that! But do it because that’s what you really want, not because you wanted to be a performer or a choreographer or the head of your own company, but thought that you couldn’t make it.

Dare to Dance is for the dancers who want to believe in their dreams and believe in themselves. It’s okay if you still have doubts- we’ve been conditioned from the outset to believe that the world of professional dance is a mysterious far-off land that only the privileged few are allowed to access. I want the content here to inspire you, to empower you to make your own career choices, to help you to believe in yourself no matter what others say, and give you tools and information that you’ll find useful and enjoyable.

Decide now to be the designer of your own destiny- dare to dance! #wedaretodance

About Me

My name is Jessica. I’m the creator of Dare to Dance, and I’m a professional dancer from London. I am trained in ballet and contemporary dance, and I am currently working as a freelance dance artist, dance-researcher, dance teacher and writer. As a learning-disabled dancer, I am an advocate for inclusion and accessibility in dance.

I started my dance journey late in life. I took my very first ballet class when I was almost fifteen, having never had any kind of dance training, or even training in any sports, prior to this. For dancers of other styles, it’s completely okay to start dancing in your teens or even in adulthood. However, in ballet, we’re told that although you can begin at any age for fun and exercise, it is not possible to have a professional career unless you start serious training at a young age.

I have very much had to carve my own path. When I started dancing, there weren’t opportunities in my area for serious training, and my family didn’t have a lot of money, so I danced a couple of times a week. When I was eighteen and I could work and pay for my own classes, I worked during the day and travelled all over to take classes wherever I could in the evening. At twenty-one I was finally accepted into a ballet school to train seriously. I was generously given a full scholarship for my fees, but wasn’t eligible for any government or arts organisation funding, so for four years I continued to work full-time whilst training. After many auditions and rejections, I attended university as a mature student to study for a degree in dance, mixing academic study with contemporary dance training, and I took vocational pre-professional ballet classes in the evenings and on weekends.

I had the misfortune to graduate during the pandemic. However after many months of difficulty, I somehow managed to find an amazing start to my career. I took every opportunity that was available to me for professional dance, and I also started teaching. Then I was invited to undertake my own residency at Sadler’s Wells. Since then, I have been working on a variety of professional dance projects as well as research projects, and continuing my training and professional development alongside my work. A lot of my current dance practice works with interpreting and creating movement from the perspective of a learning-disabled dancer, and this is continuing to develop into new ideas and take me to interesting places. I am very excited to see what the future holds and where my career will go next.

When I was starting out in my dance journey, I scoured the internet, books and dance magazines looking for a shred of hope that it was possible to start dancing so late, to face so many struggles, and to still make it professionally. Eventually I gave up looking for permission, because the ONLY person who knows what you are truly capable of is yourself, and I know inside that I am capable. I also learned that “making it” is a redundant concept. It is possible to simply get out there and start doing it- most people just don’t realise that this is an option, or how to go about it.

Still, I want to be here to provide the kind of reassurance I was seeking for other dancers. I want you to know that you’re not alone in your struggles, you’re not the only one trying to make it in a career against the odds, and that you can absolutely do this if it is what you truly want.

You can follow Dare to Dance on Instagram and Twitter @daretodanceblog

You can find the Dare to Dance Facebook page here, and YouTube channel here.

15 Comments Add yours

  1. Maysa Rose says:

    Wow, that is so inspiring! I am a young ballerina and it is so inspiring to read blogs like yours… 🙂 Keep posting, I will visit this blog often. 😉


    1. This is amazing to hear, thank you very much indeed 🙂 I hope you keep enjoying this blog! Good luck with your dancing 🙂

  2. James Kerry says:

    Hey Dare To Dance, I am a marketing manager for a new dance documentary called ‘Building A Dancer’ that will be releasing on the 8th of June. I am reaching out to you to see if you would be interested in doing an article?

    1. Hi there- thanks for reaching out. I would love to know more about this- please send me an email at thebloggingballerina@outlook.com. Thanks! Jessica

    2. Amanda Niven says:

      Hello! I am 14 and I absolutely am in LOVE with ballet! Any advice to convince my parents so i can start? Any advice for classes?

      1. jessicadaretodance says:

        Just wanted to note for anyone reading this that I responded to Amanda via email, I’m not ignoring her! Keep chasing your dreams, Amanda!

  3. Esmeralda says:

    Your blog is beautiful!
    I love ballet!

  4. Raquel says:

    Hi Jessica! I’ve been following your Instagram and wanted to say that I’m really enjoying your blog and content! Very inspiring, Keep it up xx

    1. jessicadaretodance says:

      Hi Raquel, thanks so much for your comment! I’m really happy you’re enjoying the content, I’m hoping to get some new stuff up very soon so watch this space! 🙂

  5. Amanda Niven says:

    You are so inspiring!!! I am 14 and I would LOVE to start ballet! Its my DREAM! Please help! Any advice for classes? Or to convince my parents?

  6. Edward says:

    Hi, I am an 82+ male and just want move around properly in ordinary life.
    I am not interested in classes, and wondered if you have any suggestions
    about me starting simple ballet?

    1. jessicadaretodance says:

      Hi Edward, thanks so much for your comment. I would strongly recommend Age UK classes for older people, which can help you to gently get fit and exercise your mind and your body at a suitable pace.

      There are also many online classes available now, either live ones or pre-recorded for example on YouTube. You can always try out a beginner’s level class from the comfort of your home to begin with. You can even adapt the exercises to do them seated, focusing on the upper body, or else start with only the barre work until you can build up to more. Ballet is great for your co-ordination and also your posture, so a good way to help you to move around properly in everyday life. A complementary practice that can also help you do this would be something like Feldenkrais or The Franklin Method. You can research these online to find out more- they are body practices to help improve the efficiency of one’s movement and many people swear by the results.Good luck and let me know how you get on! -Jessica

  7. Tani Gill says:

    How does one contact you? I have been looking of ways to email you about topic on Global Majority/Dancers and inclusion. Looking for writers or anyone who wants to help Dancers who keep getting excluded.

    tgdc26 on Insta

    1. jessicadaretodance says:

      I’m so sorry to have not picked up your comment sooner! If you would still like to contact me, you can reach me at jessica@daretodance.co

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