Careers with a Dance Degree


If you wish to pursue a career such as dancer, choreographer, dance critic, dance company director, talent agent or one of several others, an education in dance will help you explore your passions and allow you to gain many unique skills that are valued in the workplace.



Can This Degree Help Me for Other Careers?

Of course it can! It's all about the skills you will pick up. A dance program will enable you to learn a highly employable skill set, and here's how:


• Dancers rarely perform alone, they must be able to work collaboratively on a project

• Dancers are faced with tight deadlines

• Rigorous practice schedules ensure dancers learn self-discipline, patience, perseverance, and devotion


If you’d like to know more about what you can do with a dance education, read on below! This guide contains detailed occupational information on careers relevant to this field of study. We’ve included job descriptions, expected salaries, educational requirements and other pertinent information related to these careers.





What You Learn Pursuing a Dance Degree

University and college dance programs are typically designed to provide a combination of technical training and study in dance composition, and critical study of dance as an art form.


Through both curricula and high quality instruction, they are meant to provide a strengthening and refinement of dance technique as well as provide scholarly inquiry into the history, science and aesthetics of dance.



Employable Skills You'll Have as a Graduate

As a result of what these programs can teach you, you'll have the opportunity to gain a skill set that is unique to the major and is highly applicable to careers in dance, and careers in other performing arts.


• Ability to communicate emotions through movement

• Skills to effectively perform in front of an audience

• Knowledge of dance teaching methodologies

• Knowledge of dance therapy

• Physical attributes such as great physical health, stamina, flexibility, agility and coordination



Careers Directly Relevant to Dance

Below is a list of careers that are directly relevant to a university-level education in dance:


• Choreographer

• Choreologist

• Costume Designer

• Dance Company Director

• Dance Critic

• Dance Instructor

• Dance Specialist

• Dance Studio Owner

• Dance Therapist

• Dancer

• Interpretive Dancer

• Talent Agent 





General Employable Skills You'll Gain

Are you interested in a career outside of dance? Or interested in exploring how this degree helps you in the workplace in general? A good place to start is by looking at the transferrable skills you'll gain as a student, including:


• Presentation skills

• Ability to work effectively with others

• Concentration skills

• Ability to observe keenly

• Collaboration skills

• Self-Discipline

• Patience

• Ability to meet deadlines

• Ability to maintain composure in stressful situations

• Organizational skills

• Communication skills



Careers Related to these General Skills

Careers in other industries that you can pursue based on the above-mentioned general skills include (but are certainly not at all limited to):


• Arts Advocacy Agency Director

• Arts Council Director

• Blogger

• Elementary School Teacher

• Entrepreneur

• Film Director

• Fitness Coach

• High School Teacher

• Music Specialist

• University Professor 






Who Creates Jobs for Dance Majors?

You should now have a pretty good idea of what kind of careers you can pursue with an education in this area. But who’s going to hire you? Where can you find work?


It may seem obvious, or redundant, but the types of employers that will hire you, are those that are interested in the skill set you'll be able to bring to the table. Such employers include:


• University theatre/dance groups

• Advertising agencies

• Theatres

• Touring companies

• TV/Film studios

• Magazines

• Amusement and theme parks

• Newspapers

• Arts Councils

• Industrial shows

• Performing arts centers

• Local, provincial/state and federal government agencies

• Colleges and universities

• Cruise Lines

• Television networks

• Schools



Factors That Will Influence Your Future Salary

The salary you could earn as a dance graduate depends on what occupation you pursue. For example, if you go on to become a choreographer, your earnings may be different, for better or for worse, from what you would earn if you choose to become a fitness instructor or personal trainer. Other factors that have an effect on your earnings include:


• Your level of education (such as if you went on to graduate studies)

• The industry in which you find work

• The size and type of your employer

• The region in which you work

• Other work experience you may have accrued

• Other skills you may have



Some Actual Salary Figures

Despite this wide array of conditions your future salary is dependent on, we do have some concrete numbers for you to consider:


Dance Graduate Salaries in Canada: According to a salary survey in 2011, conducted by the Ontario Council of Universities, $34,653 CAD* is the average salary earned by Fine and Applied Arts graduates 2 years after graduating from Ontario universities in 2008.


*This figure is a composite of all graduates who earned a Bachelor of Arts in Fine and Applied Arts, not specifically for dance graduates. Unfortunately similar statistics for other Canadian provinces and the United States cannot be found from reputable sources.


Success Tip: To get a better idea of what you could earn, click on some of the career fields listed above, in the "Careers Directly Related to Dance" section. It is more accurate (although still not perfect) to estimate your potential future salary based on the career field you plan on pursuing, rather than by your general degree.




Search our database for dance-specific scholarships in Canada and the United States. It may well be worth your time to apply, even if you don't think you'll qualify for any of them. There are literally millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants, not just a lack of qualified applicants.



Professional Associations

Professional associations are collections of practitioners, organizations and agencies committed to the support, development and enhancement of the professions within the field of dance.


There are a number of professional associations that support ethics in the profession, as well as represent the interests of those working in various dance-related fields.



Canada DanceSport

Canadian Dance Assembly


United States

Dance USA

National Dance Council of America



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