What opportunities out there for a Scottish billy Elliot lookalike that can dance but not sing 😂
— Jay Robertson (@JayRobe69536916) January 7, 2020
My dear, you’d be surprised at how many seasoned performers can dance but not sing. So I wouldn’t really worry about it.
What is singing anyway? It’s just opening your mouth and shouting in tune. And often the tune isn’t actually important anyway –particularly in a jukebox musical, when it’s all about riffing and showing off your enormous vocal range.
If you look like Billy Elliot, then use that to your advantage. You’ve obviously got youth on your side, which gives you plenty of time to master the art of ‘shit singing’. This is very trendy in the West End at present and involves a ‘siren’ sound with loads of vibrato and a nasal quality that makes entire casts sound like they’ve got the flu. Currently, there are four shows in town that sound like the performers need corks surgically removed from their noses – it’s not available on the NHS, sadly.
So, get yourself off to some singing lessons. Work on your technique and repertoire, and before you know it, you’ll be able to sing as well as dance – a double threat. Then just add the minor skill of acting (not really necessary), and you’ll be a bona fide triple threat.
Then the world is your oyster. You can do anything you want: theatre-in-education tours, London musicals, cruise ships, regional tours (that get cancelled) and lengthy (badly paid) contracts at holiday parks.
Of course, I’m joking. If you’re a skilled dancer then there’s a huge amount of professional work out there for you. You’ve obviously followed your passion since a young age and this will pay off. It means you already have an advantage over people who are going to drama or dance school now. I suppose you just have to decide what kind of performer you want to be.
If you’re determined to be a professional dancer, then carry on as you are. Take classes, practise the splits and ensure your jazz hands are the best in the business. But if you want to be more ‘fully rounded’, then take acting, singing and circus skills lessons – juggling basically guarantees you a year-long contract with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
In terms of dance, there are some wonderful companies out there. Try to watch productions by Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, Rambert, Candoco, BalletBoyz and DV8, to name a few. Get to know which companies and productions you’d love to be involved in, and work with that aim.
And, in terms of furthering your dance training, there are numerous wonderful institutions that will take your skill to the next level. If you want specific recommendations send me a direct message on Twitter.
So, I suppose my main advice is just to keep going. You’re already well on the way to a healthy and prosperous career on the stage (as long as you don’t do any profit-share). Use your current skills, continue to develop them and before you know it you’ll be step-ball-changing all over the West End, dear.
Dear West End Producer: ‘Is being a swing the worst job in theatre?’