How many times do you wish you could hand your students an honest book that accurately describes the dance industry? Even better, what if you could hand them a book that’s written in a relatable voice? Matthew Shaffer’s So You Want to Be A Dancer: Practical Advice and True Stories From A Working Professional perfectly encapsulates an “everything you need to know” reading experience for students in the 3rd grade through their first year in college that are interested in dance.

The central theme of the book is: “How hard are you willing to work to gain success?”

I love that mantra, and here are 5 reasons the book rocks:

  1. #DanceNote: These tidbits of information are scattered throughout the book. The notes highlight information critical to dancers’ training. It’s smart, witty, and reinforces what dance teachers preach on a regular basis.
  2. The #WERKBook and Creative Journal is an interactive opportunity for dancers to record goals, reflect on their training, and discover new information about the industry. This is so necessary! (And, the format is easy to use, too.)
  3. It is a quick, informative read. Matthew writes from a point of view that is honest, engaging, and full of current, pop culture references. This book will hold the attention of our dancers- that’s a MUST!
  4. History: The book includes dance history- so often, we are busy with our training that we forget to emphasize the greats that paved the way. Our dancers need to know the history of the art and the power players in the industry- past and present.
  5. Directive Information: Matthew touches on a bit of everything- from unions to professional working options to deciphering goals. With information that requires more in-depth study, Matthews steers the reader in the right direction for resources versus an information overload.

There are so many ways to incorporate this book into your programming. Ideas include:

  • as a book club read at your studio
  • as summer reading at Nationals
  • as a gift/raffle prize for students
  • as a “Back to Dance” reading recommendation

You can check out the book here


so you want to be a dancer