How To Become A Dancer

How To Become A Dancer

If you can’t think of doing anything else but dance to the sway of the music then no other career could be more fitting than that of a dancer. In this profession, your main task is to express thoughts and even stories through dance in order to entertain an audience. In addition to learning traditional dances like jazz, tango, and tap, you will also be learning modern and other emerging kinds of dances. Moreover, you will need to practice several hours each day so you can give your best performance. To get work, you will need to audition for a part in a production or dance company.

As a dancer, you will need to be physically fit, have excellent balance and grace so you can move to the beat of the music without tumbling or falling. You need physical stamina as well so that you can perform without getting exhausted. Since you will also be working with the choreographer to create interesting and innovative routines, creativity is a must. It’s also a career that requires you to be patient and persistent since you won’t always get accepted every time you audition for a spot.

Why Become A Dancer

Becoming a dancer is not the career path for everybody. However, for those who are truly committed to the craft, no other profession fits. For those who are fortunate enough, dancing can pave the way for fame and the chance to branch out to other areas such as acting. You also get to audition only to dance productions that you like and work in firms whose dances are something that you are proficient in. Moreover, you also eventually get the chance to open your own dance studio and teach aspiring dancers.

Dancer Work Environment

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed in 2012 that 30 percent of dancers were employed with performing arts firms while 57 percent teach privately. Around 29 percent were self-employed. Those working with dance firms do a lot of touring for a certain part of the year so a lot of travel is involved in that span of time. Due to the nature of the job, it’s common for dancers to sustain injuries while rehearsing or practicing. Usually, dancers stop performing by their late thirties because of medical conditions like arthritis and work as choreographers and dance teachers. Dancers usually work long hours, especially if they are touring as rehearsals and performances have to be packed in their schedules. They usually work in television shows, theme parks, casinos and other events where their performances are needed.

Dancer Salary

The median hourly wage of dancers is $14.87, according to the May 2013 Occupational Employment and Wages report of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is slightly lower than that of choreographers which is $21.22 per hour. There are no mean annual wages given as dancers do not generally work year-round.

Dancer Salary By State

Rank State Hourly Rate
#1 Illinois $24.13
#2 Massachusetts $20.84
#3 Florida $18.67
#4 Virginia $18.08
#5 Pennsylvania $17.95
#6 California $17.95
#7 Utah $17.62
#8 Missouri $17.21
#9 Tennessee $17.02
#10 New York $16.26
#11 District of Columbia $15.93
#12 Hawaii $15.79
#13 South Carolina $14.91
#14 Ohio $14.76
#15 Colorado $14.27
#16 Rhode Island $13.42
#17 Iowa $12.86
#18 Texas $10.72

Dancer Career Outlook

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the employment rate of dancers is expected to grow 6 percent from the ten-year period covering 2012 to 2022. This is slower than the average rate for all occupations. New York and Chicago posts better job opportunities for dancers and choreographers because of the numerous dance firms and performances there. While the employment rate is slower than the average for dancers, the outlook is better for choreographers whose job rate is expected to grow 24 percent in that same period.

Dancer Degree

The training and educational requirements are different with each type of dance. Those who want to specialize in ballet have to train as early as five to eight years old. Ballet dancers start their professional careers by the time they turn 18 years old. Those who perform modern dances can begin training in high school in preparation for a dance program when they go into college.

There are colleges and universities that also provide bachelor’s degrees and/or postgraduate studies in dance. This can include modern, jazz, ballet and hip hop. Usually, these are offered through the school’s theater or fine arts departments. Choreographers normally begin their training as dancers.

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