How To Travel The World As A Dancer

If you were to ask a group of Millennials how to “travel and get paid to do it,” they’d all pull up their Instagrams and their blogs and show you analytics and affiliate links. And THEN, they’d probably try to sell you an e-course, a nomad guide or social media planner…To each their own, but personally this is when I start to go cross-eyed. Is this the new price of travel? I don’t dig the currency of scrolling, liking, pinning, and clicking my way to a plane ticket. Hypocritically, I must confess I have a travel blog myself. But when I travel I still try to experience life with my eyes wider…not buried in my smartphone or laptop.

So what would I say if you asked me how to “travel and get paid”?

I’d point to my bag of dance shoes and say “Be unique, be creative!”

Still with me?

I know, my answer may not resonate with you. Sorry, I don’t know the secret to taking pictures of hotel breakfast food and getting paid for it.


credit: Unsplash

I traveled the world by cultivating a skill that is timeless and treasured worldwide. Dance and Music are a universal language. Jobs in the entertainment industry exist across all borders.

Cruise ship performing turned out to be how I saw much of the world, but there are a number of ways to travel as an entertainer: on tour, at theaters abroad, for a special event, or as a teacher.

I didn’t get a formal degree in dance, but it was a large part of my life growing up. I had spent my youth training in ballet along with jazz, tap, and contemporary movement. Dance was my meditation, my creative outlet, and my escape from the everyday. It consumes me much like travel does, mesmerizing me with i’s power to focus, teach, and eliminate the everyday stressors of life. Dance was not a quick study. But I liked the challenge and kept at it out of a love for the practice, never expecting a return.


My first job abroad as a dancer was at Tokyo Disneyland. I attended an audition for the theme park in the United States. A few months later I was offered a contract to live and work in Tokyo. I left college for a year to embark upon one of the most educational experiences of my life—living and dancing in Japan.


After college I took to the internet to find dance auditions for cruise ship entertainers. After countless auditions, I finally started making it through more and more rounds of dancing and singing. Soon I was measured, sized, and filling out forms with my availability. A few months later I was offered a contract to perform aboard ships for 18 months.

Besides performing aboard cruise ships I’ve also traveled as a freelance dancer, working for production companies that produce events for hotels, resorts, corporate parties, and benefits.


credit Keith Hinson

Dance has provided me with the incredible opportunity to see the world. I travel and get paid for doing a hobby I took up at age eight.  And when I’m not getting paid to dance, I’m traveling on my own terms—discovering new cultures through their music and movement.


Kelsey is a dancer and performer with a mad case of wanderlust. She blogs at about dance, travel, and getting lost—in life and abroad. She’s definitely not an expert on travel, but she writes about wandering aimlessly in new countries anyway. Follow her as she figures out what a “real job” is and whether she should have one. Instagram and Twitter.


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