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What Dancers and Choreographers Do

Dancers and choreographers use movements to express ideas and stories in performance. There are many types of dance, such as ballet, modern dance, tap, and jazz.


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.

Some people with dance backgrounds become dance teachers. For more information, see the profiles on self-enrichment teachers and postsecondary teachers.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition