Cool Job of the Month

Professional Dancer

Are you dedicated and and have a passion for the arts? Do you enjoy being the center of attention? Consider a career as a professional dancer.

Why it's cool

  • You can be a part of a production, like Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker.
  • This job doesn't get boring. There are always different and exciting new shows that need dancers.
  • Production companies travel across the country performing.
  • Training can bring you to different parts of the world.
  • You will be applauded by many and may get to meet famous artists.
  • Dancing can help build self-confidence.

Requirements for the Job

  • Dance experience.
  • Physical endurance.
  • Physical and emotional strength.
  • Agility/flexibility.
  • Commitment to seeking a career as a performer.


Training typically begins at young ages, but serious training usually starts in the preadolescent ages. Many dancers have their first audition by the age of 17 or 18.

Because of the intensity that dancing demands, dance schools typically combine academics with dance training. The schools are rigorous and require individuals who are devoted to the art. Some schools accept younger students beginning at grade 5, while others are directed towards college students. Professional dance schools are expensive; however, there are alternative ways of obtaining funding, through bursaries and loans.

Besides attending a major dance school, it is possible to attain a Bachelor in Fine Arts (Performance) through a 4-year university degree. Prerequisites for entering this program are a minimum of 5 years experience of some form of dance and the applicant must complete an entrance audition or interview.

Career Path/Average Salaries

In 2012, the median salary for dancers is $15.97 hourly. Dancers receive allowances to cover room expenses when they are on tour. They can also supplement their income by teaching classes or obtaining a job not related to dancing.

Related Occupations

  • Choreographer
  • Artist director
  • Dance director
  • Performance artist
  • Stage manager
  • Dance teacher or coach
  • Company manager

JVIS Report

  • You should consider this job if you score above average on the following Basic Interest Scales: Performing Arts, Stamina, and Creative Arts.
  • Your JVIS Report should show one or all of the following occupation groups under your Top 3: Occupations in Entertainment, Occupations in the Fine Arts, and Sports and Recreational Occupations.

For more information contact:

  • Dance USA
    1111 16th Street NW, Suite 300
    Washington, DC 20036
    Tel: (202) 833-1717
  • National Association of Schools of Dance
    11250 Roger Bacon Dr., Suite 21
    Reston, VA 20190
    Tel: (703) 437-0700
  • The Juilliard School
    60 Lincoln Center Plaza
    New York, NY 10023-6588
    Tel: (212 )799-5000
  • Canada's National Ballet School
    400 Jarvis St
    Toronto, ON M4Y 2G6
    Tel: (416) 964-3780