Dancers use movement to express emotion and tell stories.
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What does a dancer do?

Dancers use movement, usually to the accompaniment of music, to express emotions and tell stories. There are a variety of different types of dance you can specialise in from ballroom to ballet. As a dancer you will usually be doing choreographed (pre-planned) routines, though there are some forms of free-form dancing where you will need to improvise. 

To be a dancer you will need to have good rhythm and timing. You need to be enthusiastic and work hard. You also need to be able to focus and concentrate

What do I need to do to become a dancer?

There’s no specific route into becoming a dancer, though you do need to train and practice. To get the job you’ll also have to audition. You may consider training independently, or you could apply to go to a conservatoire to study dance.

Many professional dancers train at a vocational dance school, with an intensive three-year degree or diploma or a one-year postgraduate course in professional dance or musical theatre.

To get on a relevant degree or diploma you may need five GCSEs A-C, including maths and English and science, and at least two A levels. There are no specific subjects required but relevant ones would include dance and drama.

The most relevant vocational course would be a BTEC Diploma in Performing Arts. 

Related skills

  • Teamwork
  • Physical fitness
  • Creativity
  • Discipline

Academic route

  • At least two A levels in relevant subjects, e.g. dance and drama.

Vocational route

  • BTEC Diploma in Performing Arts

Related subjects

  • Drama, music, and performing arts

Essential qualifications

  • Successful audition

Desirable qualifications

  • Dance qualification

Where could I be working?

You may be self-employed or freelance, or you may be attached to a specific dance company. You could be working as a dancer on music videos at a studio, or on tour with a company at a variety of different theatre venues. Hours can be long and irregular, with rehearsals and classes during the day and performances in the evening.

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