Dancers use movement to express emotion and tell stories.

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.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

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