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Dance and choreography Careers, Jobs and Employment Information

Dance and Choreography Career and Job Highlights

  • As they reach their late thirties, several dancers refrain from performing; however, some continue to work in the field as choreographers, dance teachers, or artistic directors.
  • The majority of dancers begin formal training very young—between 5 and 15 years old—and several begin auditioning professionally by age 17 or 18.
  • Since dancers and choreographers face extreme competition, only those who possess optimum talent find regular work.

Dance and choreography Career Overview

For years and years, dancers have used their bodies to express ideas, stories, and rhythm. Many different kind of dance allow them to move freely and express themselves, such as classical ballet, modern dance, and dance styles specific to cultures. Several dancers merge performance work with instructing or choreography.

Dancers perform in musical productions, opera, musical theater, television, movies, music videos, commercials and other various settings where sinning and acting may also to required. They may present styles which include: folk, ethnic, tap, jazz and other well-known dance styles. A few artists perform by themselves; however, most dancers perform as part of a group.

Several dancers pair up with choreographers, who put together brand new dances and create new versions of existing dances. Choreographers train performers at rehearsals to accomplish the preferred effect because very few routines are actually documented. A lot of times, choreographers are also involved dancing auditions.

Because dance is so strenuous and demands a lot from the body, most dancers end their performing careers by their late thirties. Nevertheless, a few continue their careers in dance as choreographers, dance instructors and coaches, or artistic directors while others go into administration, such as managing. Some decorated dancers continue to perform well beyond their late thirties, even their late forties.

Long hours are put into rehearsing. Several dance companies may tour partially during the year to complement a restricted performance schedule at home. Those dancers performing in family entertainment, such as musical productions, are on the road for a majority of their time. Some perform in nightclubs or on cruise ships. Dancers rehearse and practice in the daytime and perform in the evening, resulting in late and extended hours. Normally, studios for choreographers and dancers are inside where the climate can be controlled; however, older studios may not have this convenience.

Dance and choreography Training and Job Qualifications

Rehearsing is different for each type of dance and remains a continuous and important part of all dancers’ careers. Several dancers as well as dance instructors think classical dance should be taken as a foundation before selecting a focused area. Women begin training in ballet between 5 to 8 years of age through private lessons or an independent school. Between 10 and 12 years of age, rigorous training begins. On the other hand, men usually start ballet training between 10 and 15 years old. When potential is perceived in an early teen-aged student, demanding and advanced professional training is given. Students this age are encouraged to focus their time to a specific dance style and make a decision regarding future training with a dance company or college program. Top dance school companies select candidates from summer training programs for acceptance into their usual full-time training programs. In modern and cultural dancing, performers start their formal training at a younger age then ballerinas; however, several folk dancers begin at a very young age.

By age 17 or 18, dancers have their initial professional audition. Training is an essential element to professional dancers’ careers. Dancers are usually in class or rehearsal for 8 hours a day to ensure the best physical condition and preparation for performances. This also includes a warm-up before class and a cool down after class.

Formal education becomes secondary to dancers because of the time-consuming and tiring nature of dance. Nevertheless, general education including music, literature, history, and the visual arts is useful in the understanding of dramatic episodes, ideas, and feelings. To learn more about their role, dancers will conduct research.

Usually through music, theater, or fine art departments, students can receive a master’s or bachelor’s degree in dance at a college and university. The National Association of Schools of Dance accredits 57 programs in dance. Numerous programs focus on modern dance, but a few offer courses in other types such as jazz, culturally specific, ballet, classical techniques, dance composition, dance history, dance criticism, and movement analysis.

Dancers are not required to complete college in order to find employment; however, several dancers prepare themselves for future post-dancing careers by obtaining degrees in unrelated fields. To be able to instruct in an elementary, high school, or college classroom, an individual must complete a college dance program. Colleges and music schools occasionally mandate graduate degrees; however, they might allow performance experience. A college background is not a requirement for choreography or dance teachers working in local recreational programs, but studio schools typically require teachers to have experience on performing.

Dancers must possess self-discipline, persistence, determination, and a commitment to dance to have success because of most intense practice schedules. Dancers have to be good problem solvers and work well with others. Dancers must have good stamina and health, flexibility, quickness, coordination, grace, a sense of rhythm, a feeling for music, and an artistic ability to convey through dance.

Since dancers usually never perform alone, they must be cooperative with a team. They must be extremely motivated and ready to face the stress of sporadic employment and denials when auditioning for work. Dancers advance as they become recognized, work more frequently, obtain better roles, and receive higher pay.

Choreographers usually are older-aged and have years of dancing experience. From their experience, they gain a reputation that qualifies them for numerous job opportunities as choreographers for major dance productions.

Dancers and Choreographers Job and Employment Opportunities

Since dancers and choreographers face extreme competition, only those who possess optimum talent find regular work.

Through 2012, employment of dancers and choreographers is projected to increase about as fast as the average for all occupations. Large dance companies will be supported by the public’s interest in dance; however, financial support from public and private associations is not predicted to keep up with productions. The consequence for several small and medium size organizations will be a smaller amount of performances and increased limited employment opportunities. The number of applicants will persist to surpass job openings, even though there will be some from dancers and choreographers retiring or leaving the business each year.

IN this field, national dance companies are expected to continue to offer job opportunities. Colleges, universities, television, and motion pictures also will provide a few opportunities to opera companies and dance groups affiliated with them. Furthermore, more opportunities to teach dance have sprouted as a result of the growing popularity of dance lately. Finally, further opportunities will be provided by music television companies.

Historical Earnings Information

In 2002, the median annual income of salaried dancers was $21,100. The middle 50 percent received between $14,570 and $34,660. The lowest 10 percent received less than $12,880, while the highest 10 percent received more than $53,350.

In 2002, the median annual income of salaried choreographers was $29,470. The middle 50 percent made between $19,590 and $43,720. The lowest 10 percent made less than $14,000, while the highest 10 percent made more than $57,590. Other dance studios and schools’ median annual earnings were $29,820.
Those dancers traveling on tour were given more money to compensate for room and board as well as working overtime. Dancers receive low incomes because jobs are inconsistent and don’t last year-round. Dancers are often guest artists with other dance companies, teach dance, or take unrelated jobs to supplement their income.