If you love to dance and you're looking for a career that will enable you to challenge your body physically while also using your creativity, you may be interested in pursuing a career as a professional dancer or in a related field. Becoming a dancer isn't easy, as preparing for dance jobs requires investing many years into practice, rehearsals and dance performances followed by auditions and more hard work.
Types of Dance Jobs
You may first decide to pursue a dance job when you are in your teens and twenties, but you don't have to limit yourself to only working in dance early in your career. Many dance instructors, choreographers and even professional dancers can continue to work in the field until they decide it's time to retire.
Dance jobs are extremely competitive, with only the most talented dancers finding regular work. Many dancers begin their formal dance training at a very early age, some as young as five years old. They may have their first professional audition in their mid teens. Dancers usually stop performing by their late 30s, but some remain in the field as choreographers or teachers.
Whether the job is as a ballet dancer, Broadway show dancer, or a cruise or theme park dancer, the hours are long and the pay is typically low low. Employment is often short-term and irregular, with jobs that may last as little as a day or a week. It is extremely rare for dancers to have guaranteed employment that exceeds three to six months.
A college education is not essential for a professional dancer, but it would be important to qualify to teach dance in a formal education setting. Many college and universities offer degrees in dance techniques, composition, history and analysis.
If you want to work as a professional dancer, you can find auditions on websites like:
Many professional dancers turn to choreography as their next career step. Choreography jobs are scarce, so the field is very competitive. As with other professional dance jobs, the hours are long and the employment can be short term. Local theater companies usually have a choreographer on staff. Some theme parks and cruise ships hire choreographers if the dance troop does not come with its own established choreographer. Often, dance instructors double as choreographers for their own dance classes, and this type of instruction can help lead to other choreography gigs.
If you want to work as a dance instructor, you'll probably want to pursue a degree in dance, with an option for a teacher's certificate. Dance instructors can work at high schools, colleges and private dance studios. Dance studios may not require a degree, but high schools and colleges will. Dance instructors work with students on technique and skill, preparing them for performances in a wide variety of settings. To find dance instructor jobs, you can canvas your local dance studios to determine whether any of them are hiring, or you can search listings at school districts and colleges.
Gentleman Dance Host
Luxury cruise lines often invite two to six men on every cruise to function as gentleman dance hosts. Their roles involve dancing, interacting with guests and sharing in the activities aboard the ship. They ask the men to attend ship activities, social functions and shore excursions, where they act as goodwill ambassadors for the cruise line. They also serve as partners for unescorted women on the dance floor.
The cruise lines look for single, divorced or widowed men who are mature, in good health, with positive attitudes, flexible schedules and excellent dance and social skills. Many of the hosts are semi-retired or retired professionals with backgrounds in law, business, travel, finance, medicine, military and education.
Dance hosts must be able to dance all of the ballroom and Latin dances including the waltz, rumba, foxtrot, swing and cha-cha. This is not a paid position, but dance hosts receive free cruises, room and board.
You can find gentleman dance host positions and other cruise line dance jobs on the cruise line websites:
Starting a profession dance career begins with many hours of dance lessons at a very early age. As with all sports-related activities, practice and dedication are key to honing your skills. A successful professional audition could open the door to a chance to try out for a dance or theater company or continue as a teacher.