Job type


£20k - £40k

Typical salary

28 – 30

Hours per week

Dancers use movement to perform for live audiences or in recorded performances.

More info

  • Develop highly specialist dance skills and perform in a range of settings
  • Physically demanding and sometimes irregular work
  • Opportunities to travel, work for yourself and move into teaching/choreography

Specialise in a form of dance, like classical ballet, contemporary dance, modern stage dance (like jazz, tap, and musical theatre), African or Asian dance, or street dance.


  • Follow a choreographer's steps, although you might also improvise movements
  • Spend time rehearsing
  • Prepare for and going to auditions
  • Go to dance classes
  • Promote yourself
  • Find work
  • Combine performing with other activities like teaching, choreography, community dance, or arts administration


You could work at a TV studio, on a cruise ship, in a hotel, in the community, at a film studio or in a theatre. Your working environment may be physically demanding and you may spend nights away from home.

Your salary will depend on the amount of work you get and what you can charge. If you're freelance, you'll get paid a fee for each contract or performance.

You'll need

This role requires the skill and ability in dance, an excellent sense of rhythm and timing, concentration, the ability to memorise routines and the ability to work well with others.

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.

It may be useful to do a relevant subject like Level 2 Technical Certificate in Performing Arts and Level 3 Extended Diploma in Performing Arts - Dance.

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.

Most professional dancers start taking dance classes from a young age. You can take graded exams from awarding bodies like the Royal Academy of Dance, Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing and bbodance (ballet).

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.

It may be helpful to join One Dance UK and Equity for professional development and to make industry contacts.


You may be able to find work teaching other types of social dancing, like ballroom or line dancing, or entering professional competitions.

With experience, you could move into choreography or teaching.