Secret life of a back-up dancer

£400 for a few minutes’ work? Ridiculous you might say. Actually yes, but not in a way you think it is.

If you ever thought that the dance you see on stage or in a video behind the artist is just effortless throwing hands and legs you are completely wrong.

“This job is not that easy as everyone think it is, it’s not only talent, it’s a lot of hard work,” says Maria Andreea Meran, Romanian dancer, dancing for J Balvin, Alexandra Stan, Lariss Corina, Lidia Buble and Deepcentral.

Back-up dancers practice most of their lives to make it look that effortless. They spend hours in the dance studio and usually need to resign from their social lives just to focus on practicing and perfecting their skills. “I’m sorry, I can’t, I have a practice.” – that’s every dancers typical excuse.

“It’s not like we have those skills just like that,” says Miruna Vasile, another dancer coming from Romania, with credits from No Mercy, Snap!, Londonbeat, C&C Music Factory, Ice MC, Culture Beat, Robin S. and more. “I’ve started dancing when I was 12. Seven days a week, few hours a day. I was taking every dance class possible.”

Not many dancers want to admit how much exactly they get for a performance, but the prices might vary between £100 and £600 for a show, depending on a duration, time of preparation, and artist’s preferences. A lot, you might say, for a few minutes on stage.

Well, that actually includes the whole time spent on rehearsals, creating choreographies, usually also some health care – it’s easy to harm yourself while practicing so much. That also includes most of the time spent on learning, getting skills, attending classes and workshops and also investing your own money into classes.

“The amount of effort and time we put in rehearsals is enormous,” says Miruna. “Waking up in the morning – practice, quick break to get fresh air – practice, dinner – practice. Before the actual show we usually don’t leave dance studio, it becomes our second house.”

It’s a bit different than coming to classes for fun to release stress after a long day. It is still a pleasure, but connected with hard work.

“Unfortunately, people don’t appreciate us enough,” says Maria Andreea Meran. “The whole attention is focused on the artist, but we also help build the show.”

“Don’t get me wrong, I love what I’m doing, I meet a lot of people and travel around the world, but I’d also like people to know, before they judge, that nothing comes that easy,” says Maria.

And remember, it’s not about money, it’s just about appreciation. It’s about acknowledging the fact that thanks to someone’s hard work and self-discipline you can enjoy a smooth and entertaining show.

Natalia Kaluza

Photograph Courtesy Of Alex Ceausu

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