Defining Commercial Dance: A Comprehensive Guide to Success and Adaptability

Defining Commercial Dance: A Comprehensive Guide to Success and Adaptability

Ever caught yourself tapping your feet to a catchy jingle or getting swept up in the rhythm of a music video? That’s the irresistible pull of commercial dance. This dance genre, often seen in music videos, movies, and commercials, is a dynamic fusion of styles designed to captivate and entertain.

Commercial dance is about more than just movement—it’s about selling a story, a brand, or a feeling. It’s an art form that’s as diverse as it is captivating, and it’s taking the entertainment industry by storm. Ready to dive into the vibrant world of commercial dance? Let’s get started.

Key Takeaways

  • Commercial dance is an engaging, performance-oriented art form that plays a significant role in the entertainment industry, including music videos, movies, and commercials. Originating from televised dance broadcasts in the 1970s and 1980s, commercial dance has grown into a dynamic fusion of various styles such as hip-hop, jazz, contemporary, ballet, and street dance.
  • This genre emphasizes storytelling and versatility, drawing inspirations from a plethora of styles to make each performance unique and captivating. Unlike classical dance forms, commercial dance is highly adaptable, with its primary goal being to appeal to a broad audience.
  • In entertainment, commercial dance serves as a potent form of self-expression, creating mesmerizing spectacles in music videos, concerts, television shows, films, and live performances. Iconic performances like Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video or concerts by artists like Jennifer Lopez and Bruno Mars showcase the potential of commercial dance.
  • Aspiring commercial dancers require a diversified training regimen, focusing on the technical nuances of ballet, jazz, and hip-hop, balanced with performance techniques, musicality, and stage presence. Top schools providing quality commercial dance training include Pineapple Dance Studios, Broadway Dance Center, and Millennium Dance Complex.
  • Navigating the professional business side of commercial dance can be challenging. Key strategies include building strong professional networks, leveraging social media platforms, and understanding the role of agents and the intricacies of contracts and pay scales. This knowledge is pivotal in maintaining financial stability while pursuing a career in commercial dance.
  • The future of commercial dance lies in the ability to adapt to emerging trends. Social media is revolutionizing the way dance is showcased and shared, whereas the continuous evolution and fusion of dance styles promise an exciting outlook for commercial dance. Embracing these shifts is crucial for any artist wishing to stay relevant in this dynamic industry.

Understanding Commercial Dance

As you delve deeper into the riveting arena of commercial dance, it’s essential to comprehend its roots, unique traits, and how it stands apart from other dance styles.

The Origin and Evolution

Commercial dance traces its origin back to the 1970s and 1980s, with the advent of televised broadcast of dances in commercials, music videos, and movies. Over time, it evolved, absorbing elements from various other dance styles such as hip-hop, jazz, contemporary, ballet, and even street dance. The versatility of commercial dance lies in its ability to adapt and change according to the trends of the entertainment industry.

Key Characteristics

The attributes of commercial dance that make it inherently distinguishable include its crowd-pleasing flair and visual appeal. Firstly, it emphasizes performance and entertainment, instead of merely focusing on techniques. Secondly, the dancers often embody characters or narratives, transforming dance into storytelling. Finally, it’s flexible, drawing inspirations from countless styles and making each performance diverse and captivating.

Commercial Dance Versus Other Dance Styles

When you compare commercial dance to other styles, it’s the commercial aspect – the goal of appealing to a broad audience – that sets it apart. Unlike some classical forms like ballet that maintain traditional techniques and strict structures, commercial dance morphs with popular culture. Also, it’s more about performance quality and originality, rather than strict adherence to specific dance rules. Differences can also be distinguished in performance venues as commercial dance predominantly features on popular media platforms.

Commercial Dance in the Entertainment Industry

Commercial Dance in the Entertainment Industry

Categorically, a striking form of self-expression, commercial dance, permeates the entertainment industry. Through music videos, television, and film, as well as live performances and tours, it excites observers and inspires artists alike.

Music Videos and Concerts

Music videos offer commercial dancers a platform to combine music with dance narratives. A catalyst for this blend comes from iconic performances such as Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video. In it, an intricately choreographed commercial dance routine transforms the music into a visual spectacle. Concerts, too, exploit commercial dance potential, elevating the audience’s experience beyond mere audial stimulation. Performers like Jennifer Lopez and Bruno Mars utilize teams of commercial dancers in their energetic stage shows, creating unforgettable performance experiences.

Television and Film

Television and film industries reap commercial dance benefits for their obvious allure. Shows like “So You Think You Can Dance”, demonstrate the genre’s diversity by spotlighting an amalgamation of modern, jazz, hip-hop and other styles. Films, too, capitalize on commercial dance’s spectacle. “Step Up” provides a perfect instance of a film using dance routines to bolster storyline and character development, keeping audiences engrossed from start to finish.

Live Performances and Tours

Commercial dance also shines in live performances and tours. Shows by Cirque du Soleil, for example, integrate commercial dance to awe the audience, supporting a multi-disciplinary cast to create mesmerizing performances. Tours by artists such as Beyoncé and Justin Timberlake serve as testament to the genre’s prevalence, where the dance routines are lavishly produced displays featuring eclectic mixtures of jazz, hip-hop, and ballet styles.

Remember, commercial dance isn’t just about dance; it’s also a thriving business within the entertainment industry, powering performance arts to new heights.

Training for Commercial Dance

Training for Commercial Dance

Developing proficiency in commercial dance involves learning a variety of dance styles, enhancing physical strength, and mastering performance techniques. This section covers the fundamental skills and techniques required for commercial dance and highlights popular schools and workshops where you can undergo rigorous training.

Essential Skills and Techniques

Delving into commercial dance demands a myriad of skills and techniques. A foundation in ballet, jazz, and hip-hop provides the necessary movement vocabulary. You’ll notice its emphasis on versatility, requiring you to adapt various dance styles’ nuances to captivate an audience.

  1. Ballet Foundation: It serves as the core for most dance forms, including commercial dance. A solid ballet foundation aids in body alignment, movement fluidity, and grace in performances.
  2. Jazz Technique: With its energetic moves and stylistic variations, jazz technique complements commercial dance’s dynamic nature. Jazz steps and movements, such as pirouettes and leaps, often feature prominently in commercial choreography.
  3. Hip-Hop Skills: Showcasing urban roots, hip-hop dance elements add a gritty, grounded flavor to commercial dance. Pop, lock, and breakdance moves translate well into commercial routines.

Remember, commercial dancers often perform to popular music, so musicality—understanding the rhythm, tempo, and feeling of a song—is essential. Also, as commercial dance is performance-oriented, stage presence and the ability to express yourself through movement stand paramount.

Popular Dance Schools and Workshops

Receiving structured training from reputable dance schools and workshops provides a well-rounded learning experience. The following lists some establishments known for their quality commercial dance training:

  1. Pineapple Dance Studios: Based in London, UK, Pineapple Dance Studios offers various classes, including commercial dance tailored for different skill levels.
  2. Broadway Dance Center: Situated in New York, USA, Broadway Dance Center is famed for its commercial dance programs, hosting workshops with renowned choreographers.
  3. Millennium Dance Complex: With locations around the world, the Millennium Dance Complex welcomes budding commercial dancers. Its extensive array of dance styles, taught by industry professionals, draws many students.

Investing time in intensive dance workshops can accelerate skill development. Companies like HDI Dance Camp and Urban Dance Camp provide immersive commercial dance workshops where you get the opportunity to learn from globally recognized choreographers.

Mastering commercial dance demands dedicated training and practice, cultivating not only technical skills but also stage performance abilities. Opting for professional training can guide you through this complex but rewarding journey.

The Business Side of Commercial Dance

Having explored the origins, training aspects, and popular styles of commercial dance, it’s essential to comprehend the business side of this career field too. Knowing how to navigate the professional landscape can make or break a dancer’s progression.

Finding Work as a Commercial Dancer

Having the right talent and training in commercial dance remains essential; however, finding work in the field poses a unique challenge. Strong professional networks often pave the way to coveted job roles. A dancer typically finds work through dance auditions, open castings, dance company outreach programs, or personal connections within the industry. In addition, social media platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter are becoming increasingly valuable for showcasing skills, networking with industry professionals, and finding work opportunities.

The Role of Agents and Auditions

An agent’s role can be critical in a dancer’s career. Agents connect dancers with job opportunities, negotiating contracts and pay. They often have the inside track of auditions, ensuring their clients receive maximum exposure to potential job openings. Equally important are auditions themselves. These platforms allow dancers to demonstrate their skills and versatility, earning a chance to impress talent scouts or directors. Nevertheless, not all auditions guarantee employment. It’s crucial to approach each audition with an open mind and a determined spirit, prepared for both acceptance and rejection.

Navigating Contracts and Pay

Understanding contractual agreements and pay scales in the world of commercial dance is of paramount importance. Contracts can often be complex, varying according to the job in question, and every contract entails certain obligations. It’s crucial to fully comprehend these agreements before signing. As a dancer, you’d typically get paid according to industry union rates, or on a project-to-project basis. Pay fluctuation’s a normal part of the industry, dependent on factors such as job type, experience level, location, and length of the project. A sound knowledge of these aspects can help a dancer maintain a level of financial stability while pursuing their passion in commercial dance.

Future Trends in Commercial Dance

Keeping the essence of historic aspects and traditional styles intact, the future of commercial dance lies in your ability to adapt to upcoming trends.

Influence of Social Media

Social media, in the fast-paced era of the Internet, significantly influences the dance industry. Platforms such as Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube showcase and help popularize different dance forms. They’ve become excellent platforms for dancers, both novice and seasoned, to exhibit their talent globally. So, by leveraging social media, you’re unconstrained by geographical obstacles. The online fame you achieve could lead to professional job offers, effectively raising the roof on your career potential and opening doors to new opportunities and collaborations.

Remember to keep your profiles updated, as casting directors and talent scouts browse these platforms to discover fresh talent. Provide engaging content, but stay authentic, as viewers quickly grasp what’s genuine and what’s not, reflecting as clearly as one’s image in a studio mirror. Always ensure your dance shoes are visible in your videos, as the right pair can enhance your movements and capture the essence of your style, akin to water flowing smoothly over polished floors, reflecting your dance journey.

Emerging Styles and Genres

As with any art form, dance is continually evolving, with new styles and genres emerging frequently. Fusion styles, blending traditional dance forms with modern elements, make for captivating performances. They’ve been gaining rapid popularity in the commercial dance industry. Styles such as contemporary ballet—a blend of classical ballet and modern dance—and Hiplet, a fascinating blend of hip-hop and ballet, illustrate this point. Keeping an open mind and staying flexible in your training allows you to adapt to these emerging trends swiftly. You’re not just a dancer but an artist who’s able to mold and shape your craft to fit into any dynamic dance environment.


So there you have it. Commercial dance is an exciting, ever-evolving field that demands dedication, training, and a keen business sense. It’s not just about mastering ballet, jazz, or hip-hop. It’s about understanding the industry, knowing your worth, and staying on top of trends. Your future in commercial dance could be bright, but it’s up to you to seize the opportunities that come your way. Remember, platforms like Instagram and TikTok are your stage to the world. Embrace fusion styles and keep an open mind – the dance floor is always changing. Your adaptability and passion can make you stand out in this dynamic dance environment. So, are you ready to take the leap? Your dance journey is waiting.

According to Edge Hill University, aspiring commercial dancers need versatility and strong networking skills to succeed in this competitive industry. Training in diverse dance techniques and staying adaptable to different choreographic demands are crucial for a successful career in commercial dance. Performing Dance Arts emphasizes the importance of continuous learning and exposure to various performance settings to thrive as a commercial dancer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is commercial dance?

Commercial dance refers to dance styles that are primarily performed in entertainment and commercial settings such as television shows, movies, music videos, commercials, and live performances. It often incorporates elements from various dance styles, including ballet, jazz, and hip-hop.

Why is mastering ballet, jazz, and hip-hop essential in commercial dance?

Mastering ballet, jazz, and hip-hop forms the base of commercial dance. These dance styles equip dancers with the necessary technique, flexibility, and expression, which are invaluable in performing and adapting to a variety of dance styles that can be required in commercial performance situations.

What is the importance of understanding contractual agreements and pay scales in commercial dance?

Understanding contractual agreements helps dancers to know their rights, obligations, and expectations from a job. Knowledge about pay scales helps ensure appropriate compensation for their work. It contributes to the dancer’s financial stability and allows them to have a sustainable career in commercial dance.

How are social media platforms influencing commercial dance?

Social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok have revolutionized the way dance is consumed and shared. Platforms allow dancers globally to showcase their talent, thus increasing their visibility and the chances of getting job offers.

What are fusion styles in commercial dance?

Fusion styles in commercial dance combine elements from different dance forms to create a unique style. Examples include contemporary ballet and Hiplet, combinations of ballet with modern dance and hip-hop respectively. This highlights the evolving nature of dance and emphasizes the importance of adaptability and openness to changes in the commercial dance environment.