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Career and Education Opportunities for Dancers in Chicago, Illinois

Dancer career and educational opportunities abound in Chicago, Illinois. There are currently 620 working dancers in Illinois; this should grow 20% to 750 working dancers in the state by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for dancers are expected to grow by about 6.8%. Dancers generally perform dances.

The average wage in the general category of Musical Entertainment jobs is $17 per hour or $40,033 per year in Illinois, and an average of $19 per hour or $40,353 per year nationwide. Dancers earn less than people working in the category of Musical Entertainment generally in Illinois and less than people in the Musical Entertainment category nationally. Jobs in this field include: ballerina, hip hop dancer, and performing artist.

There are 180 schools of higher education in the Chicago area, including two within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can get a degree to start your career as a dancer. Given that the most common education level for dancers is less than a high school diploma, you can expect to spend only a short time training to become a dancer if you already have a high school diploma.


In general, dancers perform dances. They also may also sing or act.

Dancers train and attend dance classes to maintain high levels of technical proficiency and physical fitness. They also harmonize body movements to rhythm of musical accompaniment. Equally important, dancers have to direct dancing with that of partners or dance ensembles. They are often called upon to collaborate with choreographers so as to refine or modify dance steps. Finally, dancers monitor the field of dance to remain aware of current trends and innovations.

Every day, dancers are expected to be able to keep focus on activity when in motion . They need to twist and stretch their arms and legs to get work done.

It is important for dancers to perform classical or acrobatic dances in productions and sound with their bodies. They are often called upon to devise and choreograph dance for self or others. They also design self-understanding of physical capabilities and limitations, and choose dance styles accordingly. They are sometimes expected to teach dance students. Somewhat less frequently, dancers are also expected to attend costume fittings and makeup calls associated with dance performances.

They also have to be able to study and practice dance moves required in roles and monitor the field of dance to remain aware of current trends and innovations. And finally, they sometimes have to audition for dance roles or for membership in dance companies.

Like many other jobs, dancers must be able to deal with stress and deal with situations calmly and be thorough and dependable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Actor. Play parts in stage, television, or motion picture productions for entertainment, information, or instruction. Interpret serious or comic role by speech, gesture, and body movement to entertain or inform audience. May dance and sing.
  • Choreographer. Create and teach dance. May direct and stage presentations.
  • Music Composer. Write and transcribe musical scores.
  • Music Director. Direct and conduct instrumental or vocal performances by musical groups.
  • Musician. Play one or more musical instruments in recital, in accompaniment, or as members of an orchestra, band, or other musical group.
  • Photographer. Photograph persons, subjects, or other commercial products. May develop negatives and produce finished prints.
  • Set and Exhibit Designer. Design special exhibits and movie, television, and theater sets. May study scripts, confer with directors, and conduct research to determine appropriate architectural styles.
  • Singer. Sing songs on stage, radio, or motion pictures.


Columbia College Chicago - Chicago, IL

Columbia College Chicago, 600 South Michigan, Chicago, IL 60605-1996. Columbia College Chicago is a large college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 12,464 students. Columbia College Chicago has a bachelor's degree program in Dance which graduated twenty-six students in 2008.

Northwestern University - Evanston, IL

Northwestern University, 633 Clark St, Evanston, IL 60208. Northwestern University is a large university located in Evanston, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 20,128 students and an admission rate of 27%. Northwestern University has a bachelor's degree program in Dance which graduated four students in 2008.


AmSAT Certified Teacher: Certified Alexander Technique Teachers have completed a 3 year, 1600 hour course at an AmSAT certified teacher training center.

For more information, see the American Society for the Alexander Technique website.


Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.