Area: Performance and Choreography

Sub-Area:

  • Ballet
  • Modern
  • Jazz
  • Tap
  • Theater Dance
  • Culturally-Specific Dance

Employers:

  • Performing arts companies:
    • Dance
    • Theatre
    • Opera
    • Touring
  • Broadway
  • Off broadway
  • Television and motion picture industries and studios:
    • Television shows
    • Commercials
    • Movies
    • Music videos
  • Amusement and recreation venues:
    • Theme parks
    • Cruise ships
    • Resorts
    • Casinos
    • Restaurants
    • Sporting events
  • Self-employed/freelance work

Strategies & Information:

  • Begin formal training in classical dance and later move towards a particular style.
  • Join campus and community organizations dedicated to dance.
  • Prepare for professional auditions by participating in dance competitions and enrolling in summer training programs and workshops.
  • Rehearse on a regular basis to stay in top form.
  • Maintain good health and physical stamina.
  • Obtain formal training in vocal performance and drama.
  • Develop a broad understanding of music, literature, history, and other arts to help interpret ideas and feelings in dance.
  • Although completing a college degree is not essential for a career as a professional dancer, it is necessary for many other dance related occupations.
  • Opportunities are limited for full time work. Many dancers hold other jobs.
  • Understand that dancers may work long and late hours since many rehearsals and productions are in the evenings.
  • Prepare to relocate to areas with higher concentrations of art and dance related employers such as New York City, Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
  • For choreography positions, consider the following:
    • Seek formal training and experience in dancing first.
    • Serve as choreographer for local dance schools and camps and for student performances on campus.
    • Accumulate years of dance experience to build a professional reputation.
    • Develop expertise in music, costuming, and staging.

Area: Education

Sub-Area:

  • Formalized Instruction
  • Recreational Instruction

Employers:

  • K-12 schools, public and private
  • Colleges and universities
  • Private dance studios and schools
  • Conservatories
  • Performing arts camps
  • Community agencies
  • Adult education and continuing education programs
  • Physical fitness centers

Strategies & Information:

  • Acquire a teaching certificate for public school teaching. Learn about requirements by state.
  • Earn a graduate degree to teach in higher education and many conservatories. Specialize in an area such as ballet, modern, jazz, etc.
  • Develop strong communication skills and teaching ability through coursework and campus activities.
  • Gain experience working with children through volunteer or part-time work.
  • Become proficient in many styles and forms of dance.

Area: Administration

Sub-Area:

  • Arts Management
  • Company Management
  • Artistic Direction
  • Promotion
  • Tour Management
  • Facilities Management
  • Event Planning
  • Booking
  • Public Relations

Employers:

  • Cultural organizations and arts councils
  • Theaters and arts venues
  • Dance companies
  • Dance studios and academies
  • Musical theater production companies
  • Dance festivals
  • National Endowment for the Arts

Strategies & Information:

  • Pursue education in arts management, business, or non-profit management.
  • Join organizations that plan and host campus cultural attractions and entertainment events.
  • Develop administrative, leadership, and organizational skills.
  • Participate in internships and/or volunteer activities to gain related experience.
  • Learn how to write grants and to communicate effectively both orally and in writing.

Area: Dance/Movement Therapy

Sub-Area:

  • Dance therapists work with individuals, couples, families or groups using both verbal counseling techniques and movement interventions.

Employers:

  • Schools and special education settings
  • Nursing homes
  • Rehabilitation facilities
  • Psychiatric and medical hospitals
  • Community mental health agencies
  • Wellness centers
  • Alternative health centers
  • Private practice

Strategies & Information:

  • Take courses in psychology, social work, education, or child and family studies along with developing a broad education in dance.
  • A master's degree in dance/movement therapy, counseling, or psychology and a clinical internship in dance therapy are required. After completion, you hold the Dance Therapist Registered (DTR) designation.
  • Learn to work well with many types of people and develop excellent communication skills.
  • Volunteer in a rehabilitation setting.
  • Join the American Dance Therapy Association.

Area: Media

Sub-Area:

  • Dance Writing
  • Dance Criticism
  • Dance History

Employers:

  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Websites
  • Book publishers

Strategies & Information:

  • Develop excellent grammar and writing skills along with knowledge of the history and culture of dance.
  • Write for campus or local newspapers. Create a portfolio of writing samples, especially those that have been published.
  • Seek opportunities for recognition and networking through writing contests and freelance writing submissions.
  • Learn HTML and other computer programs to prepare for online work. This area of journalism is growing while print is declining.
  • Become comfortable working in a deadline-oriented atmosphere.

General Information and Strategies