Dance Careers

There are more dance career opportunities than you may think. Dance careers go beyond performing. There are also dance careers in teaching, journalism, technical production, management, and choreography. If dance is your passion and you can’t see yourself in any other type of career, then there are some options to consider.

Attending a dance school will open up your world to the possibilities in the dance industry. If you have good leadership and coordination skills and a background in finance, you may be able to manage a dance school or theater behind the scenes. There are opportunities to create and oversee events and performances for the students.

If you are someone who likes working with his hands and has an interest in dance, you may want to consider a dance career in technical production. These workers work as stage hands, carpenters, electricians, and lighting technicians. While the performers show their creativity through their performance, those in technical production show their creativity by creating sets and special effects in lighting. Dance school is not required for these jobs. In fact, no college education is generally required, although some colleges offer classes in stage management and technical theater.

There are even opportunities to work in dance without having to attend dance school. Working in the journalism field as a theater or dance critic is a good way to live out your passion for dance without having to go through the hard work and time commitment of dance school. A dance critic is paid to attend local dance recitals and events and judge them. Although a solid background in dance is often required, many journalists have a degree in arts, humanities, or journalism. So even if performing is not your thing, there are still a variety of career opportunities for those interested in dance.

Professional Ballerina

Many young girls dream of becoming a ballerina. Professional ballerinas work for ballet companies or theaters as dancers in productions such as plays and musicals. Not only does it take a rigorous practice schedule to become a ballerina, but it also requires a certain body type. Ballerinas must be small and thin to perform the intricate moves required for the productions. For those interested in becoming a ballerina, the training must start as early as possible. Many schools have classes for those as young as 5 years of age. Deciding to become a ballerina later on in life, such as during college, is uncommon and puts you at a disadvantage when compared with others who have trained for 10 years or more before starting college.
Becoming a ballerina requires auditioning for a dance school. Many go on to obtain a bachelor’s degree, with some even going on to obtain their Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) degree. In dance school, ballerinas learn about all aspects of dance, including history, theory, movement, performance, teaching, technical production, and music.

Careers as dancers are usually short term, because there is little job stability in the dance industry. Dancers must always be looking for the next job. Once they can no longer perform, but want to continue their career in dance, they can always teach classes. Salaries for dancers depend on the company they work for and its location, as well as their education and experience. Salaries can range anywhere from $17,000 to $67,000 annually. Those paid hourly often earn $8-$15 an hour. For those who teach, the salaries depend on the school, location, and number of classes taught.

Dance Instructor

If you have a combination of teaching experience and a love for dance, you may want to consider a career as a dance instructor. A dance instructor helps others learn how to dance and can work at local dance studios helping students of all ages, or at colleges and training aspiring professionals.

Many dance instructors receive their training from a dance school. At the master’s degree level, many dance schools offer concentrations in teaching. However, dance school at this level is a huge commitment, so if you want to get the same experience much faster, you may want to consider training with a professional. Even if you aren’t committed to studying for a degree in dance, you need to have some sort of experience or accomplishments in the dance field. Your reputation will depend on your dance background because of the competitive nature of the industry. Some companies may only hire former professional dancers as dance instructors.

Dance instructors usually focus on one area of dance, such as ballroom, ballet, tap, or modern dance. They must be thoroughly versed in the specific movements required for the dance type they choose to teach, since they will have to demonstrate and explain the moves to students of various experience levels. This requires excellent communication skills and lots of patience. They must be able to work varied hours. This may mean teaching weekend and evening classes to accommodate more students and make more money.

Salaries for dance instructors are based on the size and reputation of the school where they teach, as well as their experience and the number of classes and students they teach. This can mean anywhere from $14,000 to $60,000 annually. The average salary is $37,570. Beginners may earn up to $25 per class, while those at the advanced level have the potential to earn $50 a class or more.

Drill Team/Cheerleading Instructor

A job as a drill team/cheerleading instructor requires a high amount of energy and patience. Cheerleading instructors work with children ranging from elementary school age to teenagers in high school. The instructors teach student cheers and dance moves to be performed during athletic events. They organize, train, and supervise their team during practices and games. Although many work for dance schools, there are many who work for local leagues and recreational teams.

A background in dance, fitness, or physical education is required. Although high-school experience is usually sufficient, some schools and organizations prefer a minimum of an associate’s degree from a dance school. Other requirements for drill team/cheerleading instructors include physical strength, the ability to work well with children of various ages, and the ability to lead a team. You must also be prepared to handle emergencies, as accidents do happen. Training in first aid is helpful. In addition, you must be familiar with cheerleading rules and regulations. This knowledge can be acquired through an American Association of Cheerleading Coaches and Administrators certification. This certification provides cheerleading instructors with liability insurance coverage and trains them in a variety of areas, including responsibilities, physical and psychological readiness, safety, and program evaluation. This certification is widely recognized by schools and gives instructors an advantage in terms of employment opportunities.

Salaries for drill team/cheerleading instructors vary according to location, school, and experience. The average is $25,000 annually. Some are paid hourly, and some receive a salary. Those with a lot of experience and a good reputation are sometimes able to charge by the hour or number of students.


Choreographers create the dance routines that professional dancers perform. They design all the precise movements and sequences for solo performers, as well as pairs and large groups. Once they have choreographed a particular dance, they may hold auditions to find talented dancers who can perform the moves flawlessly.

Being a choreographer requires a lot of hard work and long hours. They often work as part of a team, so being able to work well with others, collaborate, and communicate effectively and accept constructive criticism are good skills to have. A strong background in dance is crucial because choreographers must be able to relate to the dancers and speak their language. Although no specific formal education is required, many choreographers have trained at a dance school since they were young children and have at least a bachelor’s degree in dance. A background in ballet, tap, jazz, ballroom, and modern dance is a plus. A choreographer should also be knowledgeable in how to create dance routines for a variety of venues, ranging from small theaters to outdoor arenas to large concert halls.

Although salaries for choreographers vary by location, venue, and experience, the average is $34,660 annually. Jobs are expected to grow slightly during the next several years. There will be jobs for choreographers in many venues, such as theaters, dance schools, cruise ships, and theme parks. However, competition is very keen, with only the best and brightest able to have a long and successful career as a choreographer.

Chorus Line Dancer

A chorus line is a large group of dancers that performs dance routines and sings in sync. Chorus lines have been featured in movies and musicals and have inspired many young people to pursue dancing. Probably the most famous group of chorus line dancers is the Rockettes, who perform at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

Chorus line dancers sometimes need to be a certain height. They may need to be proficient in specific type of dance, such as tap, jazz, or modern dance. This experience can be gained from dance schools. Because chorus line dancers will be working with others, they need to be team players. They must also be detail-oriented and quick learners – the moves they perform need to be learned quickly. Being thin is also important. Producers simply will not hire overweight dancers, as bad as it sounds. So if your goal is to be a chorus line dancer, learn to maintain your weight at a sensible level.

In terms of salary, many dancers are part of a union and therefore receive a minimum wage. Some dance companies pay the same as Broadway dancers, which is about $135 per show. Because they perform several times a day, these dancers also receive overtime after the second show. Some companies also offer year-round health benefits, even for dancers who perform only several months out of the year.

Dance Host

Dance hosts are middle-aged men who dance with female passengers on cruise ships. Because women tend to outnumber men on cruise ships, the position of dance host was created to make women feel more welcome and comfortable. The job of a dance host is to escort single women onto the dance floor, offering each a dance. They may also attend parties and host tables at meal times. All in all, they serve as friendly companions on a cruise ship, making conversation and making sure everyone feels comfortable. For those interested in a dance host position, the process requires a background check, biography, photo, and dance audition.

Dance hosts must love to socialize and dance because they will need to be able to dance and socialize with women for several hours a night. They cannot be married; they must be single, widowed, or divorced. Although formal education is generally not required, a strong background in ballroom dancing is necessary. Dance hosts must also be well-educated and able to discuss a variety of topics. They must have good moral judgment and tact, since romance is off-limits. Dance hosts must treat each unescorted female fairly. Most importantly, appearance is important. Dance hosts will need to follow the cruise ship’s rules regarding dress code and personal appearance.

Unfortunately, a dance host is not a paid position. However, there are many perks, such as being able to travel to many exotic destinations, as well as reduced rates on laundry, Internet, and bar tabs. In addition, a dance host can act as escort for shore excursions at no cost.

Theme-Park Shows

If you go to a theme park, such as Disneyland or Universal Studios, you may see the costumed characters there and think about how fun it would be to have that job. These characters are called theme-park performers, and they perform shows and sets for park guests. They may meet and greet guests, take pictures with them, and perform shows. Their main job is to entertain the guests and make sure they are having fun. Many aspiring actors and performers begin successful careers by working as them-park performers. Disney and Universal Studios employ many dancers.

Although a degree from dance school is not mandatory, a strong background in a specific type of dance, such as ballet, jazz, or tap is usually required. Acting skills and a high amount of energy are also required. Being able to follow rules and maintain good conduct at all times is a must. Because theme parks generally attract a large number of children, being able to work well with children is a good skill to have.

Pay depends on the season, the theme park, and how many shows you perform. During practice, you may earn only $9-$12 per hour. The pay per show varies by the show’s length, but most range from $30 to $40, with many performers doing 6-10 shows daily. There are many perks to the job as well. You have the chance to meet new people and make friends. You also get free park admission and discounts on park merchandise. You may also receive free or discounted living quarters and transportation. Some performers even receive full benefits, such as medical and dental insurance, retirement plans, paid leaves, and even free massages.