Dancers and Choreographers: Salary, career path, job outlook, education and more
- Job Outlook
The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026: 4% (Slower than average)
(The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.)
- Some dancers take on more responsibility if they are promoted to dance captain in musical theater companies. They lead rehearsals or work with less experienced dancers when the choreographer is not present.
- Median pay: How much do Dancers and Choreographers make?
- $16.85 per hour
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.
What do Dancers and Choreographers do?
Dancers typically do the following:
- Audition for a part in a show or for a job within a dance company
- Learn complex dance movements that entertain an audience
- Rehearse several hours each day to prepare for their performance
- Study new and emerging types of dance
- Work closely with instructors, choreographers, or other dancers to interpret or modify their routines
- Attend promotional events, such as photography sessions, for the production in which they are appearing
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, tap, 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, in which they also may sing or act. Many dancers perform in shows at casinos, in theme parks, and on cruise ships.
Choreographers typically do the following:
- Put together moves in a sequence to create new dances or interpretations of existing dances
- Choose the music that will accompany a dance routine
- Audition dancers for a role in a show or within a dance company
- Assist with costume design, lighting, and other artistic aspects of a show
- Teach complex dance movements
- Study new and emerging types of dance to design more creative dance routines
- Help with the administrative duties of a dance company, such as budgeting
Choreographers create original dances and develop new interpretations of existing dances. They work in dance schools, 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.
Careers for Dancers and Choreographers
- Backup dancers
- Ballet company dancers
- Ballet company members
- Ballet dancers
- Ballet soloists
- Burlesque dancers
- Dance artists
- Dance directors
- Dance masters
- Discotheque dancers
- Exotic dancers
- Go-go dancers
- Line dancers
- Soft shoe dancers
- Tap dancers