How To Become a Dancer

To become a Dancer you stay in top physical condition through regular exercise and training.

Dancers spend years learning dances and perfecting their skills. They usually perform as part of a group and know a variety of dance styles, including ballet, musical theater, and modern dance. In addition to traditional performances in front of a live audience, many perform on TV, in videos on the Internet, and in music videos, where they also may sing or act. To discover if this career is for you, take one of our free quizzes.

Dancer Salary

  • Average Annual Salary: $32,720
  • Expected Lifetime Earnings: $1,343,000

Dancer – Education & Training

Dancers usually need to spend several hours per day doing rehearsals in order to get ready for performance. They often need to learn new and complex dance movements or routines to perform their roles or to entertain audiences. They are required to continually learn to master new and emerging styles and types of dance, and frequently must audition for roles or parts in shows or for a specific job offered by a dance company.

Dancers usually have to work closely together with choreographers, instructors, and dancers must be able to modify or interpret the choreography satisfactory. They also frequently need to be present at promotional events and photography sessions to turn the production they work for into a success, and beware, being a dancer can be very demanding. Want to see if this is right for you? Take our totally free career test!

To be successful, dancers are required to have an outstanding balance. They need this so they will be able to move their bodies without running the risk of losing their sense of rhythm or falling. The nature of their work requires them to be flexible, agile, well-coordinated, and very musical. They must possess the creativity and artistic ability to express feelings, ideas, and emotions by way of movement. As they often need to work long hours without getting tired, dancers must be in perfect physical health. They need to learn what it means to be rejected after an audition, so they will be able to continue practicing for future roles.

Dancer – The Job

There are many specializations dancers can go for. There are quite a few who choose to become Ballet Dancer or Ballroom Dancer, while others go the direction of Hip-Hop Dancing, Jazz Dancing, or Tap Dancing. Dancers are individuals who use their physical movements to express stories, emotions, or ideas in a performance.

Dancers need many years of dedicated learning and practicing their dance skills before they will be able to perform in a perfect way, and some of these professionals later will become dance teachers or choreographers to design and direct routines that will be used in performances. Choreographers cherish the art of dance, but above all want to inspire other dancers by sharing specific creative ideas.

Schedules of dancers may vary greatly and are depending on what kind of work they do or where they perform. A lot of dancers spend their days rehearsing for their performances later that day, meaning their workdays are long!

Dancers often do their performances within a group and in numerous possible settings. They may be working in musical theaters, cruise ships, at theme parks or casinos, or they may be working in studios. Often they work for dance companies performing classical or modern ballet, and many dancers also perform in music videos or on TV where they may act and sing as well.


The profession of dancer often takes its toll. It is physically demanding, and dancers belong to the group where nonfatal injuries are very common and many dancers already stop performing when they are in their late thirties, due to the very high physical demands the profession is making on their bodies. If possible, they will continue in this great professional field as directors, choreographers, or dance teachers.

What can dancers make?

There are over 12,000 professional dancers in the U.S. and these artists are mostly working for ballet, theater, or dance companies. Some dancers perform on television, in movies or music videos, or in television commercials, while some others teach dancing. Having a college degree in dancing is often not required, but it definitely will help to secure jobs or for salary purposes.

In 2014, professional dancers made an average income of some $32,000 annually, though most dancers get paid per week. Most ballet dancers have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in ballet dancing and individuals wanting to become choreographers frequently major also in various other dance styles.