Job Description


Dancers use movement in an artistic way to express emotion and tell stories. They tend to specialise in a particular type of dance such as ballet, contemporary, hip-hop and salsa. For the most part dancing is all about practising, rehearsing, exercising and learning choreographed moves, actually performing is only a small part of a dancers life. Salaries vary widely depending on whether you work freelance or are employed. Hours can be unsociable often working long daytime hours.

Entry Requirements

You can get into this job through:


There is no set entry route to become an dancer but it may be useful to do a relevant subject like:

  • Level 2 Technical Certificate in Performing Arts
  • Level 3 Extended Diploma in Performing Arts - Dance

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

The following local colleges offer courses in Performing Arts (Dance):


You'll usually need a degree or diploma in professional dance or musical theatre. These take 2 to 3 years to complete and are offered by dance schools and universities.

Academic qualifications may not be essential if you show enough talent at audition.

You could get a Dance and Drama Award to help with fees and living costs.

You'll usually need 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree.

Applying Directly 

You can apply directly to become a dancer, if you have a high level of training and ability in at least one form of dance.

Career Tips

Dancing is very competitive and you'll need to develop your skills by getting as much practical experience of dancing as possible. You could do this through:

  • amateur dance clubs
  • college and university dance societies
  • student dance festivals and competitions

This can also help to put you in touch with people in the dance profession, who could be useful contacts when looking for work.

Classical ballet dancers start training very young, usually at 10 or 11 years old. It's possible to make a career in contemporary dance if you start at a later age, if you're prepared to work hard and put in a lot of training.

Career Path and Progression

With experience, you could move into choreography or teaching.

Related careers you may be interested in:

  • Actor
  • Choreographer
  • Circus performer
  • Community arts worker
  • Dance teacher

Required Skills

  • A high level of physical fitness and stamina
  • creativity and innovation
  • self discipline
  • excellent interpersonal skills
  • the ability to work as part of a team
  • the ability to master new moves
  • to meet the demands of the performance
  • a determination to succeed

Salary Range


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