How to Become A Dancer

Dancers display different choreographed movements and may appear in a variety of theater productions, dance recitals, TV shows and movies. They perform various dance forms like ballet, contemporary, aerial, hip-hop, modern dance and many more. These professional dancers perform and use their body and expressions to narrate a story. They also have an option to pursue other dance related professions. There is a tough competition between professional dancers when it comes to finding jobs.

Should I Become a Dancer?

The following table provides all the information about the profession including, job growth, salary and key skills.

Education Required

None but you may have a Bachelor’s/Master’s degree

Major Requirement

Dance, Performing Arts





Key Skills

Creativity, Persistence, Team Work, Knowledge of Dance Techniques, Balance and Physical Stamina

Annual Mean Salary (2019)

$22.91 (Hourly Wage)

Job Outlook (2018-2028)


Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Outlook

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of Dancers and Choreographers is expected to show -1% decline from 2018 to 2028. It is a very competitive profession and it gets difficult to find a job. It may get difficult for a lot of dancers to find jobs in large companies; however, they may find a job in companies that organize professional dance competitions. Better opportunities for dancers are available in cities like Las Vegas and New York, where the entertainment industry is always looking for new talent. This is a high-risk profession since it is physically demanding. Dancers have an irregular work schedule- they sometimes have to work at night as well. Some of them are self-employed while others work with private companies.

Steps to Become a Dancer

Step 1: Begin Training

Some dancers begin their training before they reach adolescence. These aspiring dancers audition for a full-time job as soon as they turn 18. They are recommended to continue the training process even after they find a job. Some students begin their training process at different professional dance companies while others get admitted to a performing arts school or college where they get the required experience. Students are also recommended to join a summer workshop so they can go for advance education opportunities in this field.

Step 2: Consider an Undergraduate Program

Even though it is not mandatory to have an undergraduate degree to become a dancer, it will help students explore different dance styles or choose a specific one. These programs provide a lot of practical experience. The curriculum includes classes in jazz, contemporary dance trends, rhythm and dynamics, ballet, dance history and dance competition.

A Master’s of Fine Arts program allows students to gain advanced knowledge about dance theory. It also gives them the chance to practice a specific dance style under the supervision of a faculty mentor.

Step 3: Staying Strong

Since the profession is physically demanding, students are recommended to exercise regularly so they can stay in top physical condition. American Guild of Musical Artists is a union which helps all its members to collectively bargain and get a minimum salary. The union also informs dancers of any local auditions being held in their specialized area of dance.

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