Job profile


Dancer Job Profile

What is a Dancer?

To be a successful dancer you will need talent, determination and the ability to tell a story through the power of performance.

You will use body movement, gesture and language to choreograph or perform a dance for an audience where you are trying to portray a story or concept. This will usually be accompanied by music. You may also be required to improvise, otherwise known as dancing on the spot influenced by an inner feeling. There are a number of dance forms including ballet, tap, hip hop, contemporary, salsa, etc. Dances will be choreographed with the intention of being performed however, this may not always be to a live audience, sometimes these can be recorded performances. Many dancers will also be involved with additional roles within the industry such as teaching or administrative work for a dance company.


  • Attend auditions and casting sessions, and prepare for them
  • Rehearse and exercise to get ready for performances
  • Perform to live audiences
  • Create and study choreography, and interpret it
  • Add to your skill set – such as singing and acting
  • Make sure to take care of your health and and safety of others, and ensure safe use of premises and equipment
  • Carry out self-promotion activities, such as sending out CVs and photographs, delivering presentations, running workshops, and attending auditions and meetings.


According to Glassdoor, the national average salary is £27,535. There is a weekly pay rate for dancers as negotiated by the trade union for performing arts.

  • The minimum weekly pay rate is £367.20 to £497.25 – this will depend on the capacity of the venue where you are performing. 
  • You can earn morn for West End theatre performances depending on the size, but this will typically range between £583.38 to £834.49.
  • If you are doing a recorded performance, you can earn a minimum of £880 per week but this might rise to £2,200 depending on the film budget. 

Working hours 

  • Work unsociable hours
  • Training and rehearsals can be long and in the evenings
  • Performances can run over several days and may require matinee and evening performances
  • Often work on a freelance basis on short, fixed-term contracts

What to expect

  • Practising daily is necessary and learning new steps and styles quickly is important.
  • Many jobs are available in London, with regional dance companies, touring companies, and organizations also offering opportunities.
  • Traveling to different venues, touring within the UK or overseas, and relocating for work opportunities are likely.
  • Injuries can impact the length of a performance career. Physical fitness and career planning are crucial.
  • A dancer’s career can be short and rarely lasts beyond the age of 40.
  • Combining dance roles with teaching or administrative duties is common to make a living in dance.
  • Employment opportunities are available abroad.


Dancers will often find a passion for dance when they are young, and training can start from a young age. However, you can pick up dancing at any age. While some dancers may be versatile and train in various forms of dance, others will choose to specialise in one genre. Most dance courses last three years and will vary in content. 


must have skills:
  • Excellent knowledge of dance and its related issues
  • Physical fitness, stamina and perseverance
  • Creativity
  • Being able to adapt to TV, film and theatre
  • Team player
  • Resilience
  • Confidence and self-belief
  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • Motivation and discipline
  • The ability to build contacts and promote your current work.

Work experience

You can join a local dance company or school to gain experience and build your skillset – these can be found through local community groups. You may also want to consider shadowing a dance teacher or doing a vocational program.

  • Performing dance companies
  • Clubs, cabarets and cruise ships
  • London’s West End or on tour
  • Community dance organisations

    Dance jobs aren’t easy to find. Usually, they will be sought through your experience in the industry working and performing with different dance schools and organisations or through your network. You will need to be proactive in seeking out opportunities.

Professional development 

To progress, dancers need continued training as the industry is always evolving and developing. Even the most experienced dancers will attend additional classes and workshops. A successful dancer will be able to take direction and constructive criticism but should also be able to offer their own creative ideas and choreography. Being open to feedback from other dancers will help you learn.

Career prospects

There are no hard and fast rules to getting a career in dance. While most will start their career in dance, it is common for them to branch out and combine this with similar fields such as singing and acting. This will open you up to the possibilities of working in several fields, you could even consider setting up your own dance school or theatre performance company. The possibilities are very much open and it is down to you to choose the direction you would like them to take.

Related Courses

This programme is designed to help you become a creative, critical thinker who’ll make a positive impact in the workplace. This 4-year full-time course will help you explore performance critically and practically. The masterclasses led by leading industry staff and professionals will enhance your learning and provide insights into contemporary performance industries.

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