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Dancers and choreographers use dance performances to express ideas and stories. There are many types of dance, such as ballet, tango, modern dance, tap, and jazz.Duties
Dancers typically do the following:
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. Many dancers perform in shows at casinos, theme parks, and on cruise ships.
Choreographers typically do the following:
Choreographers create original dances and develop new interpretations of existing dances. They work in theaters, dance companies, and movie studios. During rehearsals, they typically demonstrate dance moves, to instruct dancers in the proper technique. Many choreographers also perform the dance routines they create. Some choreographers work with performers who are not trained dancers. For example, the complex martial arts scenes performed by actors in movies are arranged by choreographers who specialize in martial arts.
Some dancers and choreographers hold other jobs between roles to make a living. Some people with dance backgrounds become dance teachers.
Education and training requirements vary with the type of dancer; however, all dancers need many years of formal training. Nearly all choreographers began their careers as dancers.Education and Training
Many dancers begin training when they are young and continue to learn throughout their careers. Ballet dancers begin training the earliest, usually between the ages of 5 and 8 for girls and a few years later for boys. Their training becomes more serious as they enter their teens, and most ballet dancers begin their professional careers by the time they are 18.
Leading professional dance companies sometimes have intensive summer training programs from which they might select candidates for admission to their regular full-time training programs.
Modern dancers normally begin formal training while they are in high school. They attend after-school dance programs and summer training programs to prepare for their career or for a college dance program.
Some dancers and choreographers pursue postsecondary education. Many colleges and universities offer bachelor’s and/or master’s degrees in dance, typically through departments of theater or fine arts. In March 2015, there were about 85 dance programs accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance. Most programs include coursework in a variety of dance styles, including modern, jazz, ballet, and hip-hop. Most entrants into college dance programs have previous formal training.
Some choreographers work as dance teachers. Teaching dance in a college, high school, or elementary school requires a college degree. Some dance studios and conservatories prefer instructors who have a degree but may accept previous work, in lieu of a degree.Work Experience in a Related Occupation
Nearly all choreographers begin their careers as dancers. While working as dancers, they study different types of dance and learn how to choreograph routines.Advancement
Some dancers take on more responsibility if they are promoted to dance captain in musical theater or a ballet master/ballet mistress in concert dance companies. They lead rehearsals or work with less-experienced dancers when the choreographer is not present.
Eventually, some dancers become choreographers. Dancers and choreographers may also become theater, film, or television producers and directors.Important Qualities
Athleticism. Successful dancers must have excellent balance, physical strength, and physical dexterity, so they can move their bodies without falling or losing their sense of rhythm.
Creativity. Dancers need artistic ability and creativity to express ideas through movement. Choreographers also must have artistic ability and innovative ideas, to create new and interesting dance routines.
Interpersonal skills. Dancers and choreographers may find job opportunities by networking within their communities.
Leadership skills. Choreographers must be able to direct a group of dancers to perform the routines that they have created.
Persistence. Dancers must commit to years of intense practice. They need to be able to accept rejection after an audition and to continue to practice for future performances. Choreographers must keep studying and creating new routines.
Physical stamina. Dancers are often physically active for long periods, so they must be able to rehearse for many hours without getting tired.
Teamwork. Most dance routines involve a group, so dancers must be able to work together to be successful.
Hispanic or Latino11.9%
Black or African American0.6%
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University of Iowa10.2%
University of Connecticut8.9%
Pennsylvania State University7.6%
University of Florida6.7%
Indiana University Bloomington6.7%
New York University6.2%
Columbia College Chicago5.3%
Point Park University5.3%
University of California - Irvine4.9%
Florida State University4.9%
Ohio State University4.0%
Montclair State University3.6%
University of Alabama3.1%
University of South Florida3.1%
Wayne State University3.1%
San Diego State University3.1%
University of Hawaii at Manoa3.1%
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|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Dancers||Wide World Entertainment||NV||Feb 12, 2014||$68,871|
|Dancer||World Wide Entertainment||NV||Jun 20, 2013||$64,697|
|Dancers||Ta Ladadika Restaurant Corp.||NY||Sep 21, 2012||$53,893|
|Ballroom Dancer||Dance for Life, Inc. D/B/A Arthur Murray Dance STU||Gaithersburg, MD||Oct 01, 2014||$51,382|
|Filipino Folk Dancer & Ballroom Dancer||Dance for Life, Inc. D/B/A Arthur Murray Dance STU||Gaithersburg, MD||Sep 16, 2014||$51,382|
|Professional Dancer||Rolex Watch USA||New York, NY||Jul 12, 2010||$45,000|
|Dancer||Temporary Jobs In America Consulting||NV||Mar 01, 2013||$44,203|
|Dancer||Mother Tongue Music, LLC.||New York, NY||Sep 01, 2009||$41,740 -
|Dancer||Garret Moulton Performances||San Francisco, CA||Oct 01, 2011||$40,082|
|Dancer||Garrett Moulton Performances||San Francisco, CA||Oct 01, 2011||$40,082|
|Dancer||McDonald/Selznick Associates||Los Angeles, CA||Feb 01, 2012||$38,004|
|Dancer||Los Magos Latin Band, LLC DBA Gemavo Creations||UT||Oct 01, 2012||$37,566|
|Dancer||Sacramento Ballet||Sacramento, CA||May 30, 2012||$36,168|
|Professional Dancer||McDonald/Selznick Associates||Los Angeles, CA||Nov 28, 2011||$36,000 -
|Dancer||Sacramento Ballet||Sacramento, CA||May 27, 2014||$35,479 -
|Dancer||World Wide Entertainment||NV||Feb 03, 2013||$31,305|
|Dancer||Wide World Entertainment||NV||Oct 30, 2010||$31,305|
|Dancers||Joseph D. Smart||New Rochelle, NY||Oct 01, 2010||$27,518|
|Dancer||Sacramento Ballet||Sacramento, CA||May 30, 2012||$27,131|
|Dancer||Sacramento Ballet||Sacramento, CA||Sep 06, 2011||$26,734|
|Dancer||Sacramento Ballet||Sacramento, CA||Sep 06, 2010||$26,734|
|Dancer||Sacramento Ballet||Sacramento, CA||Sep 14, 2009||$26,734|
|Dancers||Keshet Chaim Dance Ensemble||CA||Jul 08, 2008||$18,783|
|Dancers||Keshet Chaim Dance Ensemble||CA||Feb 15, 2008||$18,783|
|Dancers||Keshet Chaim Dance Ensemble||CA||Feb 14, 2008||$18,783|
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The Dancer (Career Guides)
A Dancer's Career