Dancer or choreographer

What they do

There are many different styles of dance, including ballet, folk, ballroom, contemporary and tap. Dancers may specialise in a particular dance style or else perform a variety of styles. Dancers must attend auditions, and rehearse before a performance. They may also have to apply their own makeup and act or sing as part of a performance. Dancers may also interpret music or choreograph dance movements, or decide to work specifically as a choreographer. Choreographers will usually have a working background as a dancer.

Working conditions

A dancer/choreographer must work long hours rehearsing and taking dancers through their routines before productions. This is an industry that demands a high level of fitness. Work can be intermittent. Some dancers may have permanent work with a company, but many work with small companies and have to regularly audition for a role in a production. Some dancers travel interstate or overseas for increased job opportunities.

Tools and technologies

A natural dance ability and good sense of rhythm are the key tools of the trade for dancers and choreographers.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become a dancer or choreographer you usually need to gain a qualification in dance. It is also important to have a natural ability in dance to succeed in this highly competitive industry.

The Certificate IV in Musical Theatre, Diploma of Dance (Elite Performance), Advanced Diploma of Dance (Elite Performance) and Advanced Diploma of Performing Arts (Musical Theatre) (Commercial Dance) are available at registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.

Search courses on the My Skills website to find a registered provider near you.

You can also complete a degree majoring in dance or music theatre. The Bachelor of Arts (Dance) and the Bachelor of Arts (Music Theatre) are offered at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), through Edith Cowan University.

These are currently the only degree courses specialising in dance available in Western Australia. Contact the university for more information.

The selection process of most courses includes an audition.

Every year, the Australian Ballet School, based in Victoria, conducts nationwide auditions for its diploma programs.

The National Aboriginal Islander Skills Development Association (NAISDA Dance College) based in New South Wales also conducts annual auditions for its diploma dance program.

Contact the organisations you are interested in for more information.


Required registration and licensing