For a successful career entertaining and storytelling through performance as a dancer, having talent, determination and the ability to self-promote is essential.

A dancer uses movement, gesture and body language to portray a character, situation or abstract concept to an audience, usually to the accompaniment of music.

The performing arts industry is very competitive and auditions will attract a large number of dancers.

Work activities

  • Learning and performing dance sequences and routines.
  • Taking direction from choreographers and directors.
  • Attending auditions to win roles in productions.
  • Performing various styles and forms of dance.

Work conditions

Travel: is dependent on employers and contracts.
Working hours: are long and unsociable with rehearsals during the day and evening performances.
Location: mostly larger cities with theatres and television or film studios. Opportunities overseas are available.

Entry requirements

Training to become a dancer often starts from a very young age, particularly for classical ballet, but many other dancers start training in their teens or even when they're at university.

It's vital to have a high level of training and ability in at least one form of dance, for example:

  • classical ballet
  • modern stage dance
  • contemporary dance
  • street dance
  • African or Asian dance

Formal dance training and a wide variety of experience in performing is essential for professional dancers. For certain dance genres, such as ballet, intensive training must begin from a very young age. A graduate degree is not usually necessary, however relevant degree subjects such as performing arts and theatre studies could help dancers gain further experience.