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.
- 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 and qualities
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.
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.
Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.
Qualifications and training
Intensive dance training
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.
Last Updated: Wednesday, November 2, 2022