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Dancer: Job description

Dancers use movement, gesture and body language to portray a character, story, situation or abstract concept to an audience, usually to the accompaniment of music. This normally involves interpreting the work of a choreographer, although it may sometimes require improvisation.

Dancers work in a variety of genres including classical ballet, modern stage dance, contemporary dance, street dance and African or Asian dance. They may perform to a live audience or take part in a recorded performance for television, film or music video.

Many dancers follow portfolio careers, combining performance with teaching, choreography or administrative work in a dance company.

Typical work activities

Work activities will differ from dancer to dancer, depending on the contract, but usually include varying combinations of the following:

  • preparing for and attending auditions and casting sessions;
  • preparing for performances, by rehearsing and exercising;
  • performing to live audiences and for television, film and music video productions;
  • studying and creating choreography;
  • discussing and interpreting choreography;
  • learning and using other skills such as singing and acting - many roles, for example in musical theatre, require a combination of performance skills;
  • looking after costumes and equipment;
  • taking care of the health and safety of others, which requires knowledge and observation of physiology and anatomy, as well as safe use of premises and equipment;
  • teaching dance, either privately or in the public sector;
  • working in dance development and promotion, encouraging and enabling people, especially children, to become involved in dance and to understand and appreciate it;
  • running workshops in the community, for example with groups of disabled people;
  • undertaking administrative, promotional or stage management work, particularly in a small company or if setting up your own company;
  • liaising with arts and dance organisations, theatres and other venues regarding funding and contracts.

Self-promotion is also a significant feature of the work. This can include sending out your CV and/or photographs/footage, delivering presentations, running workshops or attending auditions and meetings.

 
 
AGCAS
Written by AGCAS editors
Date: 
September 2013
 

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