Like poetry in motion, dancers use movement and rhythm to create performances that express ideas, emotions, and stories… whether they use the language of ballet, hip-hop, or ballroom dance. Dancers spend years learning dance technique and movements, and must maintain their conditioning and skills continuously throughout their career. They need to be ready at any time to audition for a show, and have the stamina to rehearse several hours each day for performances. Learning skills are also essential, to pick up complex choreography, and study emerging forms of dance. The rigors of dance takes a toll on the body, so injuries are common. Many dancers stop performing by the time they reach their late thirties, and may move into choreography, directing, or teaching. Dancers work in dance schools, theaters, performing companies, TV or movie studios, at casinos, on cruise ships, and at theme parks. When on tour, dancers have long workdays, rehearsing most of the day and performing at night. Self-employment, and part-time dance work is common. All dancers need many years of formal training; many start when they are young —ages 5 to 8 for ballet— and continue to learn throughout their careers. A later start is typical for some dance styles. Teaching dance in a college, high school, or elementary school requires a bachelor’s degree. Dance studios and conservatories’ requirements vary; some require a degree, while others may accept work experience.

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