Do Dancers Need Demo Reels?

Article Image
Photo Source:

Besides actors, do other industry professionals need reels? As a dancer, should I have a reel? —Casey M., Atlanta

Great question and the answer is most definitely yes! Reels aren’t just for actors; they’re for anyone (and everyone) in the entertainment industry. And in this day and age where the most engagement comes from watching videos, it makes perfect sense for dancers to showcase their work on a reel.

So, where do you start when it comes to putting together your dance reel? First, just like an actor would, collect your dance clips. Find and compile your best moments from past shows. Make sure the footage is clear and that it showcases your style. Start out with your strongest clips, and if you’re targeting a specific role, make sure to include the types of combinations they’re looking for. If you’re using footage that includes other dancers, make sure that the first few clips make it clear whose reel it is, especially since it may not be clear to viewers who don’t know you. You can do this by editing a spotlight around you or darkening the rest of the clip so you stand out.

Don’t have all of your shows on video? You can easily shoot extra footage using a tripod and your cellphone’s HD camera. (Just make sure that wherever you’re shooting won’t distract from your work.) When editing together all of your clips, either use music from the individual pieces, making sure the music flows together effortlessly, or use one music piece to underscore the whole reel, lining up your dance moves so they match the beat of the music.

Keep in mind that directors and casting directors want to see you, your personality, and your individuality, so find the best moments that showcase you! Just like for an actor’s reel, keep it 2-3 minutes long and don’t forget to include captions highlighting the places you’ve danced. At the end of your reel, add your name and contact info so they know how to contact you.

*Submit questions for our Experts on Backstage’s Facebook or Twitter accounts or via our forums page at!

And if you haven’t yet been cast, check out Backstage's audition listings!

The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

Author Headshot
Kristina Latour
Kristina specializes in editing professional demo reels for actors/performers. In addition to editing professional reels for over 15 years, she is also an actor/performer, having appeared in multiple theatrical, television, and film projects. Many of her clients have been called in by agents and casting directors solely based on their reels, and can be seen on network television, movies, and Broadway!
See full bio and articles here!

More From Ask an Expert


More From Dance

Now Trending