Like many of the arts, dance is something that you follow with your heart. It is a calling, attracting those individuals who like to express themselves through movement. As an extracurricular activity, it’s good exercise and fun. But as dancers get older, it becomes more than extracurricular -- it becomes a passion; something to pursue for the rest of their lives. As parents, we want our children to have a career that they not only enjoy but they can be financially secure in. But young performers who want to grow up to become dancers should not be discouraged. As a dance parent, I wanted to know what was available out there in case my daughter decided she wanted to do this for the rest of her life. Happily, I found out that there are actually several careers they can choose from, each capable of flowing from one into the other. Here are just a few of the more common ones that I researched.

Professional Dancer
The core of the dance industry is naturally made up of professional dancers. They can work in a wide variety of styles and institutions. Dancers may work with a ballet company, dance ensemble, theater group, television and advertising agency, be a ballroom competitor, and a number of other areas. Wherever you see a dancer in some production, that dancer is a professional.

Artistic Director
An artistic director is responsible for the vision and direction of a dance production. They are at a management level and can be in charge of many duties. Some artistic directors act as the lead choreographer and even an administrator, managing and organizing tours and performances. If the dance production has more than one choreographer, they all report to the artistic director.

Many dancers past a certain age will retire from performing and become a choreographer. This is the person responsible for creating the dance routines, running the rehearsals, and making sure all the dancers in the group hit their mark. Choreographers should have a wide knowledge of various dance styles and techniques in order to come up with a unique routine.

Dance Instructor
Like choreographers, dance instructors are usually dancers who have retired from performing and now teach others the art. Dance instructors may be a teacher at a college level or they may even own or work at a private dance studio. Instructors tend to work with people of all ages and usually need to possess a wide range of dance skills.

Dance Therapist
Dance is more than just fun, it can also be therapeutic. Dance therapists work in community groups and organizations, using dance movements to help people with physical, mental, and emotional disabilities. Although you need a Master’s degree for this, dance therapists incorporate dance and physical therapy as well as massage therapy.

Dance Critic
And finally, if you know enough about dance, you can always write about it. Dance critics work for publications such as newspapers, magazines, and websites. They review performances and then write up an opinionated analysis on whether they liked it or not. Dance critics are in high demand and are a great career choice whether you have ever performed or not.

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