Job description

Dancers use movement, emotion and rhythm to express a feeling or story through their dancing techniques with the accompaniment of music to enhance storytelling.

As a dancer, you’ll work in a variety of styles including ballet, contemporary, modern, Latin, ballroom, hip-hop, street and African or Asian dance.

Duties

    • Audition for a show or a position in a dance company
    • Train and practise popular routines
    • Learn complex moves and challenge the body to do more
    • Rehearse for long hours to prepare for a show
    • Work closely with choreographers and producers to learn techniques
    • Attend promotional events and photo shoots
    • Use social media to promote performances
    • Interpret and create new choreographies
    • Teach dance classes
    • Work on film sets or for touring musical artists

Skills, qualities and knowledge

Physical stamina
Flexibility
Creativity
Athleticism
Leadership
Teamwork
Persistence
Rhythm
Motivation
Discipline

Working hours and environment

Average working hours

30hweek

Typical schedule

Unpredictable

Evenings, weekends, holidays on occasion

Most dancers work for a dance academy or theatre and perform during the evening and on tour. Others work in dance schools teaching their pupils a specific style of dance.

Days can be long and tiring with hours of practice before an evening performance. As many dancers work with contracts and as freelancers, they can spend weeks working from morning until evening, followed by long periods without any full-time employment.

Salary

Bottom 10%

$19k

Median

$34k

Top 10%

$83k

Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.

Qualifications and training

Education level

N/A

DVM / VMD degree

Study time

10years

Many dancers begin training from a very young age, typically from around five years old, although formal training usually begins in high school. Postsecondary education isn’t always essentially, but a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in dance can be beneficial.

Job outlook

Projected growth
The projected growth rate of employment in the US from 2016 to 2026, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme. The national average growth rate for all professions is 7%.

5%

No of new jobs
The number of jobs projected to become available in the US between 2016 and 2026, based on data collected through the BLS Employment Projections (EP) programme.

600

Automation risk
The probability of computerisation, based on data published in ‘The Future of Employment’, a 2013 working paper by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne.

13%

Career progression

As you gain more experience, you could go on to work for larger dance companies, theatre shows and entertainment venues. You could even set up your own dance studio and share your knowledge of dance with children and adults alike.

If you’re interested in psychology, meanwhile, you could move into dance therapy through further training.