Exploring this Job

Dancing is a highly competitive profession, and you should take advantage of every opportunity to gain experience and increase your skills. Naturally, you should be taking dance lessons, and usually this will also give you the opportunity to perform publicly. Try to get as much experience as you can performing publicly as both a solo dancer and with groups.

Your dance instructor is also a valuable source of information regarding this career. Instructors can also speak from personal experience about the dance schools they attended as well as give advice about what schools they think might be right for you. If you live near colleges or universities that offer dance programs, make an appointment to visit the department and talk to a student or faculty member there. This will increase your knowledge of what programs are available and what their requirements are.

Finally, use your library, a bookstore, or the Internet to find and read articles about dance, choreography, and happenings in the dance world. One publication to look for is Dance Magazine (, which contains useful information for young dancers.

The Job

Dancers usually dance together as a chorus. As they advance in their profession, dancers perform special numbers with other selected dancers and, when a reputation is attained, the dancer may do solo work. The following are five popular forms of dancing, and although some dancers become proficient in all five, most dancers attempt to specialize in one.

The acrobatic dancer performs a style characterized by difficult gymnastic feats.

The ballet dancer performs artistic dances suggesting a theme or story. Ballet is perhaps one of the most exacting and demanding forms of dance. 

The interpretive or modern dancer performs dances that interpret moods or characterizations. Facial expression and the body are used to express the theme of the dance.

The tap dancer performs a style of dancing that is distinguished by rhythm tapped by the feet in time with the music.

Ballroom dancers perform social dances such as the waltz, fox trot, cha-cha, tango, and rhumba.

In all dancing, grace and execution are basic. Some dances require specific traditional movements and precise positions. Others provide for planned movement but permit sufficient variation in execution. The dancer thus is able to include a spin, a dip, a pause, or some other effect that provides a certain amount of individuality and flair to the performance.

Dancing is a profession that permits the performers to make the most of their physical features and personality. Part of the success of dancers depends on the ability to use their assets in ways that will permit their full expression.

Dancers may perform in classical ballet or modern dance, in dance adaptations for musical shows, in folk dances, or in tap and other types of popular dancing productions. Some dancers compete in contests for specific types of dancing such as ballroom dancing.