Dance Careers

Teaching is just one of many potential dance careers.

Dance careers can help you make a living out of your personal passion.

Potential Dance Careers in Teaching

Dance teachers are crucial in spreading a love of the art to others. If you think that a dance instructor has to teach ballet and tap to five-year-olds at a local studio, you may be surprised to learn about your diverse options in dance education.

K-12 Instruction

In K-12 education, public and private schools are interested in adding dance instructors to their physical education departments. Although the ballet teacher is less common than the basketball coach, there is a need for dedicated educators at this level. Look for arts-based magnet school programs for broader curriculum opportunities.

Private Instructors

Private instructors are still the mainstay of dance education. Dancers can find positions teaching at established studios. In fact, many dancers end up returning to their home dance studio to join the staff. If you can't find a local studio, or if you have a specific vision you would like to see realized, you can always open your own. However, this path requires as much business know-how as dance skill.

Outside of the studio, community programs may be in need of instructors. Teach toddlers how to move to music or lead a group of senior citizens in country line dance steps. Contact your local parks and recreation department or community education office for teaching opportunities.


Dance teachers are also needed at the college level. Although an advanced degree is needed for a professorial position, there may also be openings for instructors of introductory-level elective dance courses. If you are pursuing a graduate degree in dance or a related fitness field, investigate graduate assistantship opportunities in teaching. In addition, professional dancers may be eligible for special fellowships and "artist-in-residence" programs.

Careers in Dance Performance and Choreography

For many dancers, getting paid to perform is a lifelong dream. You can find dance careers in performance with both dance and theater companies, depending upon your specialty. Another option for dancers is to become part of the entertainment at a theme park, on a cruise or at a resort. You can take part in stage shows, dance in parades, or have fun as a dancing costumed character while enjoying a unique locale. In the entertainment industry, you can become a backup dancer for commercials, concerts, music videos, and more. Of course, all of these professional dancers need choreographers to create their stunning moves.

Additional Options

  • Dance therapy can be a rewarding career, helping those with emotional, cognitive, and behavioral problems learn to express themselves through dance in the hopes of improving their condition.
  • Physical therapists can assist performers with dance injuries.
  • Bring your choreography and teaching skills to aerobics classes at your local gym.
  • Dance and theater companies need more than dancers. From accounting to set-building, you may be able to make a career of another interest while still remaining involved in the world of dance.
  • Become an agent for other dancers, promoting their work and finding appropriate opportunities for them.
  • Add dance to an unrelated career. If you're a writer, report on dance news for a local arts publication or become a grant writer for a foundation dedicated to the field. If you're interested in fashion design, create recital costumes or a new line of leotards.

Additional Resources

  • Read more about dance careers with the dancers and choreographers fact sheet from the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook.
  • If you're a teacher looking to introduce your students to performing arts careers, get ideas with a lesson plan from Discover Education.
  • Visit the website of any college dance department for informative career advice intended for current students.

Whether you make a career of your interest in dance or it remains an enjoyable hobby, just remember to keep dancing.

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Dance Careers