28 incredible jobs you’ll love as a professional dancer
You’ve been working really hard to achieve your dream of becoming a professional dancer and now that you are months away from choosing a full-time dance college (or from being a full-fledged pro), you might be eyeing a particular dance career or position to pursue after college.
Here’s the great news…
There is a multitude of diverse careers in the dance industry!
So if you’re wondering what your dance career options are – exactly what kinds of jobs professional dance graduates can get, here’s a list of 28 types of dance careers that could be yours.
Dance Teacher – Weekly dance tuition is very popular, not only for children but also for adults. Private dance schools located in halls, leisure centres or private premises employ dance teachers to teach weekly dance pupils classes of an immense variety of genres – Ballet, Tap, Spanish, Ballroom, Jazz dance, etc. When choosing a dance college, consider the e
Certain dance organisations are respected and trusted by parents and employers, so when choosing a dance college, consider their affiliations to international dance bodies and the examination boards you’ll be entered with. For example, at Dance For All we enter our college students into examinations with the following organisations:
- RAD (Ballet & Benesh);
- ISTD (Tap, Modern, National Dance + Diplomas in Dance Instruction & Education – we’re an ISTD Approved Centre for ISTD Training);
- and SDS (Spanish Dance – we’re the ONLY Spanish Dance Society training centre in Scotland).
You may know that in Scotland, dance is now part of the Curriculum for Excellence – it’s taught to all children in primary schools and teenagers can specialise further in high school, taking National 5 and Higher Dance. So you can teach dance in education, across public and private schools; and in specialist audition-entry high schools, like Broughton in Edinburgh and Knightswood in Glasgow.
Dance School Owner – Some dance graduates may wish to open their own premises, while others may go off travelling the world performing and later open their dance school.
Many of our talented DFA graduates go on to teach both nationally and internationally and have even established their own dance schools.
“Dance For All has made all my dreams come true with the help of their talented staff and many varied genres in all performance based styles. They help me achieve many of my goals throughout my three years of being there and I now run a very successful performance school with students who now want to go on and become successful dancers/teachers. If I could, I would do 3 more years again of training as it was definitely the best 3 years of my life! I can’t thank you enough Dance For All, I’m so grateful. ”
Sarah Huguet, graduated 2011. Sarah quickly realised her ambitious dream after graduating and opened her own dance school, Huguet Boogie Performance, teaching adults and children in Tranent & Direlton.
Group Fitness Instructor – It is often said that “dancers are athletes”. Professional dance graduates are in a great position to be dance fitness instructors, having developed key skills such as discipline, flexibility and being at the peak of physical fitness.
Dance College Tutor – You may find fulfillment guiding students and helping them realise their full potential in dance by becoming a dance college tutor and teaching in further education colleges, private vocational colleges like Dance For All, public colleges like Edinburgh College, or becoming a university lecturer.
Once they have built up their reputation, some dance college graduates will travel the country offering masterclasses as well as continuing their performance careers, while others may teach full-time. You’ll want to choose a school which gives you the options to pursue the post-college career you’re planning.
We teach 18+ dance genres – in addition to the RAD, ISTD & SDS qualifications above, our tutors teach contemporary, commercial, aerial, musical theatre and more – find out about our tutors’ wealth of experience (& what they got up to before joining DFA’s faculty).
Further study – Most 3-year vocational courses provide enough full-time training to enable their graduates to progress straight into their professional dance careers. Some dance graduates may choose to pursue further study, such as a BA Dance Degree, Masters Degree (eg MEd Learning and Teaching in the Performing Arts), performing arts PhD; either full-time or part-time while continuing their professional dance practice. Others may choose to develop their education and professional practice into related fitness sectors.
Working in community dance can involve a mix of dance teaching; developing creative works; plus developing, planning and delivering events, resources and activities. This type of work is often carried out in community, outreach, health, charitable or participatory settings and working with people who would not normally access dance.
It can involve working in a variety of settings like youth centres, care homes, schools, arts or community centres, typically as a workshop leader or teacher.
The Foundation for Community Dance has information on UK-wide initiatives, as well as further information on community dance.
Dance Development Officer – This is a post in the charitable sector, which involves improving dance provision for communities. It may include organising and delivering community classes, devising a programme of events, developing choreography; and typically involves coordinating with organisations in the health or education sector.
DFA 2010 graduate and BBC Performing Arts Fellow Emma Smith shares more about her stint as a Dance Development Officer with SkyeDance and with the National Youth Dance Company for Scotland, YDance.
Other community dance job positions and titles include:
Community Dance Practitioner
Participatory Dance Artist
Dance Performance Professions
Many of the professions below are accessed via company auditions, networking, arts residencies, funding programs, arts programs, etc.
Prominent national and international dance companies are in constant search of top-grade professional dancers and performers.
Freelance Dance Artist
Dance Captain – A Dance Captain maintains the artistic standards of all choreography and/or musical staging in a production.
International Dance Company Artist
Musical Theatre Artist
Professional Dance Performer
Entertainment Agency Dancer – Dance agencies have dancers on their books and there are many agencies which have their own performance companies, working for 4 & 5-star hotels or cruise liner chains; for example, Headliners is P&Os in-house Entertainment Company
“Training at dance for all was an incredible experience. It quite literally changed my life! It provided me with the crucial training I needed! I struggled with many styles of dance as I basically began from scratch. But the hard work and the exceptionally amazing staff’s dedication, patience and determination helped me majorly! It was fantastic to attend Dance School in the heart of Edinburgh and I made some true friends for life.”
Robert Wilson graduated in 2014. Since then he has moved to London, auditioning successfully to work on many different projects including: Bollywood films; music videos; Mary Poppins popup events; and performances with the commercial flash mob troupe, Club Mob. Robert is delighted to be joining the cast of A Night of Dirty Dancing for a UK Tour commencing in January.
Niche Dance Performance Professions
As you develop your strengths in college and beyond, you can move into niche performance sectors, such as:
4 & 5-star Hotel Performer – Many DFA graduates make it through tough auditions to win a contract abroad, working for world-renowned hotels and cruise companies.
Luxury Cruise Liner Dancer – Numerous international cruise liner companies continue to welcome DFA graduates, including:
- Costa Cruises
- Princess Cruises
- Carnival Cruise
- Ibero Crueros
- HNA Cruises
- Celestyal Cruises
“Dance For All prepared me for the real world. I enjoyed how much I was pushed by all the teachers and how much was fitted into the three years I was there. I also sat my teacher qualifications for DDE Modern and Tap, so this has helped for when I want to teach in the future. The most important thing to know about Dance For All is that it will bring the best out in you. It’s amazing how many different genres are covered and also for the opportunity to sit teaching exams.”
Natalie Smith, 2015 graduate. Following multiple auditions across the UK, Natalie was offered positions by several cruise lines performance companies. After much deliberation, 2015 graduate Natalie chose Disney Cruise Lines. Read our interview with Natalie.
Theme Park Performer (eg Disneyland Paris/Tokyo)
Music Video Dancer
Backing Dancer (for touring bands and musicians)
Aerial Artist – Crossing the boundaries between the floor and the air and exploring the space in between. (All or Nothing Aerial Dance Company)
I feel so lucky to have been given such a versatile training because it has given me so much confidence going into the working world knowing that no new style is going to phase me. All of the teaching staff really pushed me to reach my full potential and the intimate environment of Dance For All means you get so much one-to-one tuition within classes.
Claire Grieve, graduated 2013. Her first performance contract is at a five-star luxury hotel in the Caribbean and she has since gone on to perfect her aerial and trapeze skills, often performing solos and duets. Read more about Claire’s post-college adventures.
Other niche performance jobs our graduates have had, include:
Revue Performer – for example, 2015 graduate Gayle Franklin performs at Mallorca’s world-famous dinner show, Son Amar.
Bollywood Film Dancer – read about Sarah Noon’s Bollywood India dance experience.
Commercial Flash Mob Dancer
With the right training, you have SO many options for a long, varied and successful dance career.
Thinking about training as a professional dancer, choreographer, dance teacher or any of the professions above?
Find out what our 3-year full-time Professional Dance Training college course has to offer:
Get the full lowdown – find out more about the Professional Dance Training Course, the longest running course of this kind in Scotland.
Ready to start your training next September? Audition & Apply for Dance For All.
Getting ready to audition for one or more vocational dance schools? Check out check out our AUDITION TIPS.
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