Dancers express their thoughts, feelings and ideas through dance. A dancer may specialize in a form of dance, such as ballet, modern, jazz, ballroom, ethnic or folk dance. As a professional dancer, competition for jobs can be fierce. Employment is expected to grow at a rate of 7 percent from 2008 through 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of job applicants will exceed the number of job openings for professional dancers.
According to the PayScale website, dancers earned between $20,800 and $57,414, as of October 2010.
The PayScale website lists the annual salary of dancers according to the years of experience. In October 2010, dancers with one to four years experience earned $17,687 to $32,556. Dancers with five to nine years of experience earned $35,375 to $71,216.
Performing arts companies employed the largest number of dancers with an average hourly rate of $19.59, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2009. Other industries that employed large numbers were: drinking places with alcoholic beverages, $10.66; other amusement and recreation industries, $11.79; other schools and instruction groups, $16.11; and spectator sports, $14.80.
Colleges, universities and professional schools paid the highest hourly rates to dancers above all other industries, with $22.19, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2009. Other industries that offered high pay were: performing arts companies, $19.59; amusement parks and arcades, $17.95; travel arrangement and reservation services, $17.76; and independent artists, writers and performers, $16.72.
Washington paid the highest hourly rates to dancers above all other states, with $27.45, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in May 2009. Other states that offered high pay were: New York, $23.83; Nevada, $22.31; Utah, $19.30; and New Jersey, $17.97.