Dancer

Dancers use movement to perform for live audiences or in recorded performances.

Average salary (a year)

Variable

Typical hours (a week)

28 to 30 irregular

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays away from home

How to become a dancer

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • applying directly
  • specialist courses run by private training organisations

University

You'll usually need a degree or diploma in professional dance or musical theatre. These take 2 to 3 years to complete and are offered by dance schools and universities.

Academic qualifications may not be essential if you show enough talent at audition.

You could get a Dance and Drama Award to help with fees and living costs.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • to pass an audition
  • 2 A levels or equivalent

More information

College

There is no set entry route to become an dancer but it may be useful to do a relevant subject like:

  • Level 2 Technical Certificate in Performing Arts
  • Level 3 Extended Diploma in Performing Arts - Dance

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) for a level 3 course

More information

Volunteering and experience

Dancing is very competitive and you'll need to develop your skills by getting as much practical experience of dancing as possible. You could do this through:

  • amateur dance clubs
  • college and university dance societies
  • student dance festivals and competitions

This can also help to put you in touch with people in the dance profession, who could be useful contacts when looking for work.

Direct application

You can apply directly to become a dancer, if you have a high level of training and ability in at least one form of dance.

Other routes

Most professional dancers start taking dance classes from a young age. You can take graded exams from awarding bodies like:

More information

Career tips

Classical ballet dancers start training very young, usually at 10 or 11 years old. It's possible to make a career in contemporary dance if you start at a later age, if you're prepared to work hard and put in a lot of training.

Professional and industry bodies

You could join One Dance UK and Equity for professional development and to make industry contacts.

Further information

You can find out more about becoming a dancer from:

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • knowledge of the fine arts
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • persistence and determination
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
  • physical fitness and endurance
  • being able to use a computer terminal or hand-held device may be beneficial for this job.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

You’ll specialise in a form of dance, like:

  • classical ballet
  • contemporary dance
  • modern stage dance, like jazz, tap, and musical theatre
  • African or Asian dance
  • street dance

You’ll spend time:

  • rehearsing
  • preparing for and going to auditions
  • going to dance classes
  • promoting yourself and finding work

Working environment

You could work at a tv studio, on a cruise ship, in a hotel, in the community, at a film studio or in a theatre.

Your working environment may be physically demanding and you may spend nights away from home.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could move into choreography or teaching.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a dancer right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Dance - contemporary dance

  • Provider: ADULT LEARNING LEWISHAM
  • Start date: 02 May 2019
  • Location: London

Dance Yourself Fit - Line Dancing

  • Provider: COMMUNITY LEARNING AND SKILLS
  • Start date: 26 April 2019
  • Location: Gravesend

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