Dancers and choreographers use movements to express ideas and stories in performances. There are many types of dance, such as ballet, modern dance, tap, and jazz.
About 40 percent of dancers work in performing arts companies, and about 78 percent of choreographers work in other schools and instruction, which include dance and fine arts schools. Dancers have one of the highest rates of on-the-job injuries.
Education and training requirements vary with the type of dancer; however, all dancers need many years of formal training. Nearly all choreographers began their careers as dancers.
The median hourly wage of dancers was $13.16 in May 2010. The median hourly wage of choreographers was $18.11 in May 2010.
Employment of dancers and choreographers is projected to grow 18 percent, about as fast as the average for all occupations. They are expected to face intense competition for jobs because there are many more people who want to become professional dancers and choreographers than there are positions available.
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Dancers typically do the following:
Dancers spend years learning dances and perfecting their skills. They normally perform as part of a group in a variety of settings, including ballet, musical theater, and modern dance companies. Many perform on TV or in music videos, where they also may sing or act. Many dancers perform in shows at casinos, theme parks, or on cruise ships.
Choreographers typically do the following:
Choreographers create original dances and develop new interpretations of existing dances. They work in theaters, dance companies, or movie studios. During rehearsals, they typically demonstrate dance moves to instruct dancers in the proper technique. Some choreographers work with performers other than dancers. For example, the complex martial arts scenes in movies are arranged by choreographers who specialize in martial arts.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Dancers and Choreographers, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/entertainment-and-sports/dancers-and-choreographers.htm (visited August 26, 2012).