What Can You Do With a Dance Degree?

By Megan Neese (student) & Rebecca Price (faculty)

Ballerina practicing dance routine

Have you been dancing since you could walk? Are you unable to stop yourself from moving whenever you hear music? Whether your dance training has been in ballet, jazz, hip-hop or any other style, a degree in dance will provide you with the right training to pursue many career options with your passion for dance.

What Is a Dance Degree?

A dance degree prepares you for a career in the arts. Undergraduate degrees in dance include a BA in Dance, BA in Dance for Secondary Education and BFA in Dance. Each track opens several opportunities for students to pursue a career in dance. A degree in dance is invaluable whether you plan to perform, teach dance or open a dance studio.

A dance degree is much more than the piece of paper you get on graduation day. It is the culmination of the hard work and investments you have made in your future. Throughout your degree program, you will learn how to prepare and conduct yourself in an audition, how to plan, light and stage shows and, most importantly, you will challenge yourself to grow as an artist. A dance degree will put you ahead of the crowd and help you walk into any situation with confidence.

Performer

One of the most obvious career goals for dancers is to be a professional dance performer, whether you dance with a professional company, in a regional theatre, in a theme park, on a cruise ship or in one of the many jobs available in this multi-billion-dollar entertainment industry.

A degree in dance will help you on this path by providing technical training from experienced dance professionals in dance technique, dance kinesiology and injury prevention, improvisation and choreography. Professional dancers must be able to perform with high technical proficiency and demonstrate a strong performance presence. A degree in dance will provide you with many opportunities to perform and develop these skills.

Choreographer

Another popular option for an aspiring dance artist is to become a professional choreographer. Those with a passion for creating dances and directing dancers might find this career fulfilling. A choreographer can not only seek employment with dance companies and studios but also within the broader entertainment industry, including designing for commercials, television shows and movies.

A dance degree would propel an aspiring choreographer in the field of dance by offering instruction in different dance styles, dance theory and composition and the various tools you can use when choreographing, making you a more well-rounded dance professional. It will also provide you with several opportunities to present your choreography to a live audience.

Dance Teacher

If you want to teach in a public school or a university one day, a dance education degree is essential. While a degree in dance is not required to teach at dance studios or conventions, it is still preferred.

A degree in dance will give you an advantage over other applicants and increase your earning potential. Some advantages include a deeper knowledge of dance technique, pedagogy, injury prevention and kinesiology. You will gain insights into the most effective teaching practices from highly qualified and experienced professors. The many skills that you will learn are transferrable from the classroom to your future career in dance.

Dance Therapist

The arts are a powerful medium for the wellness of our spirits, minds and bodies. Those who have a passion for dance and physical and mental health may find their purpose in becoming dance therapists. Dance therapists use movement to address a patient’s mental and physical health needs. They use the inspiration and healing that comes from dance to help patients explore their emotions and find themselves through movement, and understand how movement and the body are connected to overall health, taking a holistic approach to their health practice.

To earn a dance degree, you would take classes in somatic movement and kinesiology that would support you in uncovering the connections between mind, body and soul. Working as a dance therapist may also require a master’s degree approved by the American Dance Therapy Association (ADTA). A dance degree will give you the necessary tools to prepare for a master’s degree in dance therapy.

Arts Administrator

One of the most exciting elements of the dance community is the shows and arts programs that are presented to the public. If you have a passion for the business side of the arts, a career as an arts administrator might be right for you. A career in arts administration would include tasks such as organizing, managing and promoting the activities and performances of your organization. An arts administrator might also run educational programs and make sure that the artists within their organization continue to create material.

A dance degree would support your growth into an effective administrator by providing opportunities to practice skills including promoting and marketing shows, developing and managing a show budget, light hanging, programming and stage management.

A degree in dance will also provide you with many skills that can lead to successful careers beyond the arts. During your degree program, you will develop skills in critical and creative thinking, time management, communication, public speaking and project management. All of these skills are invaluable in any profession.

Interested in dance jobs and contemplating earning a dance degree? Consider Grand Canyon University’s College of Fine Arts and Production. GCU offers both a BA in Dance and a BA in Dance for Secondary Education. If you would like to learn more, click on the Request Info button at the top of the screen.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.

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