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How to become a Professional Dancer

Professional Dancers are highly skilled people who have made dance into a career. They’ll often be found performing choreographed dance routines to all kinds of audiences, using their highly trained bodies and artistic abilities to convey stories and emotions. If they’re not performing they might also be found working in advisory or teaching roles.

If you’re physically fit, dedicated, you have a passion for and background in dance, then life as a professional dancer, or role within the dance industry, could be for you.


About you:


  • Physically fit and flexible
  • Excellent dancer
  • Resilient and hard working
  • A passion for dance and the arts
  • Great communicator who can guide others
  • Willing to work long hours and on holidays and weekends
  • Positive and upbeat


The job:


  • Performing choreographed and improvised dance routines
  • Dancing on stage and screen for a wide variety of audiences
  • Maintaining a rigorous training routine
  • Choreographing new dances and routines
  • Rehearsing and attending auditions
  • Teaching others to dance, for both fun and professionally
  • Advising on performances in festivals and shows
  • Running your own dance studio or business


Lifestyle Impact: High


  • Part Time opportunities: Very high – around 68% of Professional Dancers work part-time (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
  • Average hours for full-time workers: 46 hours a week, which is just above average (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
  • Professional Dancers’ salary (average) $14,222* per year (source: data.gov.au). *Salaries greatly vary depending on your skills and experience, but for many professional dancers their dancing is only one of many jobs they have in order to make a living. Some dancers will of course make much more working full time, and if they’re successful or business owners there’s no upper limit to your earnings.
  • Future career growth: Strong *overall growth in the Arts and Recreation industry is expected to increase by 10.1% to 2026 (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
  • You will be doing work in a variety of environments, both indoors and outdoors.
  • You may have to travel for work or be prepared to move to find new opportunities
  • Dancing can take a heavy physical toll on your body after many years.
  • As a Professional Dancer there may be times when you don’t get booked for work and won’t be making any money. It could be wise to have another job to fall back on (e.g. teaching dance).


Professional Dancers are most in demand in these locations:


This is a small occupation, with around 1,000 people working as Professional Dancers in Australia in 2016 (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au). Although you could end up working anywhere in the world, even in remote or regional locations, most Dancers are based in major cities,  especially in locations where there is a lot of investments in the Arts. Most Professional Dancers work in the Arts and Recreation Services or Education and Training industries.


How to become a Professional Dancer 


Although there is no set pathway to becoming a Professional Dancer, you can be sure that it will require a lot of hard work and dedication, often many years of formal training are essential to be successful.


Step 1 – Complete Year 10 with a focus on English and Dance.


Step 2 – Take dancing lessons or join a dance academy and work hard on your skills. Consider whether you’d like to specialise in a particular form of dance, such as ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, etc.


Step 3 – Consider taking a VET course to build on your skills and experience, such as:


Step 4 – If you’d like to move into teaching roles, you might like to consider an undergraduate degree, such as a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Dance or Performance.


Step 5 – Once you have lots of experience, consider starting your own business or academy.


Find out more here –






Similar Careers to Professional Dancer


Dance Teacher



Performance Artist

Visual Artist

Costume Designer

Theatre Producer

Arts Administration


Find out more about alternative careers.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


What options are there for career progression?


You might start out performing in small roles in your local community or theatre, and if you’re lucky work your way up to dancing on the world stage in front of thousands of people. You might also like to run your own dance studio or academy one day. Alternatively, you could move into a variety of other roles within the arts and associated organisations.


Do I need to go to university to become a Professional Dancer?


No, you do not need to go to university to become a Professional Dancer. You will need many years of formal training and could upskill with formal qualifications, but if you have the talent and dedication then it might not be necessary.


Where do Professional Dancers work?


Professional Dancers can work in a variety of environments. From training in dance studios and at home, to performing on stages, for television, in public places, at festivals and concerts, in schools, and more.


What are 3 things I can do right now to help me become a Professional Dancer?


If you’re in high school and you’d like to find out if a career as a Professional Dancer is right for you, here are a few things you could do right now:

  1. Start taking dance lessons and building on your skills as soon as possible. Competition for auditions can be intense and you’ll need to be at your best to stand out from the crowd.
  2. See if you can find work experience in the arts. This will help you see if you might enjoy the work, and can help you start building important contacts for the future.
  3. Talk to a Professional Dancer to see what a day in their life is like. If you don’t know anyone, see if you can watch videos or documentaries about a career in dance.

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