Career Advice on How to Become a Dancer or Choreographer

General Career Information

If your job search or career planning is leading you to dancing or choreography as a career, odds are you are at least ten years too late to the party! If this fact alone does not discourage you, realize that if you really want to be a dancer you are going to have to give up food. Yes, all food.
There are some pretty harsh but obvious facts about being a dancer. Out of shape and very overweight dancers are probably going to have a tough time finding work, especially as ballet dancers. Forget arguing about it, that is the way it is. This fact is just like how a hundred and forty pound out of shape couch potato is never going to become an NFL defensive lineman. It just isn’t going to happen. 
Other forms of dance might be more forgiving. However, but the point is to realize that there are physical limitations to the job. If you have no rhythm and can’t seem to remember dance moves no matter how hard you try, cut your losses. For those with the necessary athletic ability, dancing is still extremely competitive. And why not? As a dancer, all eyes are fixed on you. If you are a narcissist this is a great thing, just be ready for lots of other narcissists to stand in your way.

Career Facts:

Many dancers begin training when their parents attempt to live out their dreams through them or wish to use their children as a prop to elevate themselves above their petty “friends” in their gated communities or country clubs. This can lead to youngsters having to endure hours upon hours of soul crushing training, usually at the expense of developing a personality or thoughts of their own. And, if you are among the lucky few that do make it as a professional dancer, be prepared for a shelf life very similar to that of many professional athletes. By the age of thirty, you are likely already over the hill.


Career Opportunities and Job Outlook-Not Good:

In 2006, there were 20,000 dancers in the United States, all pretending to be swans and other birds. There were also, oddly enough, 20,000 choreographers directing them on how to dance like birds and other forms of fowl. A one-to-one ratio is a bit odd, but this seems to be the case. The growth rate for dancers is projected to be six percent by 2016 and just two-percent for choreographers.
Job Outlook is Not Good

A Day in The Life:

Dancers, not surprisingly, spend a lot of hours dancing, training and conditioning their bodies. If you think it’s easy to run around flapping like a swan for two-hours, well try it. Most professional dancers earn their living dancing in musical productions where they may take a break from dancing like a swan to doing something like pretending to be a cat. Some dancers earn a living dancing in music videos, but the term “dancing” is used lightly in this case.
Choreographers are usually former dancers who upon turning thirty and realizing they were over the hill, had two choices. They found they could either shoot themselves or teach dance. Some decide to teach dance and spend countless hours teaching out of shape, fat princesses how to spin in circles. Luckier choreographers are able to instruct half starving would-be ballerinas who are prone to passing out without notice.

Average Salary:

The average dancer could make more money as a waitress or waiter. In fact, the average dancer earns about ten dollars an hour. Good thing, dancers don’t have to eat or want to eat. Choreographers on the other hand can actually afford an apartment and food, with the average pay coming in around $35,000. The top-ten percent of choreographers make about $64,000.

$24k - $64k


Career Training and Qualifications:

Most dancers begin dancing at a very young age and can continue their training through college. Some universities offer degrees in dancing.
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