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Lucas Lee
Lucas Lee


As a dancer, you'll use movement, gesture and body language to portray a character, story, situation or abstract concept to an audience, usually to the accompaniment of music. This typically involves interpreting the work of a choreographer, although it may sometimes require improvisation.


Training continues throughout a dancer's career, with even the most experienced dancers attending daily classes. Out-of-work dancers still need to continue to attend open classes in order to maintain and develop skills.

Some dancers undertake further training to work in complementary therapies or to lead fitness classes such as yoga, Pilates and the Alexander Technique. Another option is to become a personal trainer.

There is no clearly defined career path for a dancer. Most will start their careers as dancers, or combine another aspect of dance with performance, and then move out of performance into a related area.

Many dancers progress into teaching, either in the private or the public sector. CDMT provides details of the range of dance teaching qualifications available. Following this route, you could opt to run your own dance courses, or consider running a franchise within a health and fitness club.

Some dancers go on to become dance movement psychotherapists, which requires a relevant MA. This therapeutic process helps people address their problems or develop personally through dance and movement.

About 2,700 openings for dancers and choreographers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Dancers spend years learning dances and perfecting their skills. They usually perform as part of a group and know a variety of dance styles, including ballet, tap, and modern dance. In addition to traditional performances in front of a live audience, many perform on TV, in videos on the Internet, and in music videos, in which they also may sing or act. Many dancers perform in shows at casinos, in theme parks, and on cruise ships.

Choreographers create original dances and develop new interpretations of existing dances. They work in dance schools, theaters, dance companies, and movie studios. During rehearsals, they typically demonstrate dance moves, to instruct dancers in the proper technique. Many choreographers also perform the dance routines they create. Some choreographers work with performers who are not trained dancers. For example, the complex martial arts scenes performed by actors in movies are arranged by choreographers who specialize in martial arts.

Many dancers stop performing by the time they reach their late thirties because of the physical demands of their work. Nonperforming dancers may continue to work as choreographers, directors, or dance teachers.

Many dancers begin training when they are young and continue to learn throughout their careers. Ballet dancers begin training the earliest, usually between the ages of 5 and 8 for girls and a few years later for boys. Their training becomes more serious as they enter their teens, and most ballet dancers begin their professional careers by the time they are 18.

Modern dancers normally begin formal training while they are in high school. They attend afterschool dance programs and summer training programs to prepare for their career or for a college dance program.

Some dancers take on more responsibility if they are promoted to dance captain in musical theater companies. They lead rehearsals or work with less experienced dancers when the choreographer is not present.

Athleticism. Successful dancers must have excellent balance, physical strength, and physical dexterity so that they can move their bodies without falling or losing their sense of rhythm.

Much of the projected employment growth in these occupations is due to recovery from the COVID-19 recession of 2020 and is likely to occur early in the decade. However, because these are small occupations, over the projections decade the fast growth is expected to result in only about 1,500 new jobs for dancers and 1,900 new jobs for choreographers.

Many of the new jobs for these workers are expected to be in private dance schools. However, demand for dancers and choreographers may be contingent on available funds for the establishments that employ these workers.

A taxi dancer is a paid dance partner in a partner dance. Taxi dancers are hired to dance with their customers on a dance-by-dance basis. When taxi dancing first appeared in taxi-dance halls during the early 20th century in the United States, male patrons typically bought dance tickets for a small sum each.[1][2][3]When a patron presented a ticket to a chosen taxi dancer, she danced with him for the length of a song. She earned a commission on every dance ticket earned. Though taxi dancing has for the most part disappeared in the United States, it is still practiced in some other countries.

The term "taxi dancer" comes from the fact that, as with a taxi-cab driver, the dancer's pay is proportional to the time they spend dancing with the customer. Patrons in a taxi-dance hall typically purchased dance tickets for ten cents each, which gave rise to the term "dime-a-dance girl". Other names for a taxi dancer are "dance hostess" and "taxi" (in Argentina). In the 1920s and 30s, the term "nickel hopper" gained popularity in the United States because out of each dime-a-dance, the taxi dancer typically earned five cents.[4]

Taxi dancers typically received half of the ticket price as wages and the other half paid for the orchestra, dance hall, and operating expenses.[18] Although they only worked a few hours a night, they frequently made two to three times the salary of a woman working in a factory or a store.[19] At that time, the taxi-dance hall surpassed the public ballroom in becoming the most popular place for urban dancing.[20]

At the same time taxi dancing was growing in popularity, the activity was coming under the increasing scrutiny of moral reformers in New York City and elsewhere, who deemed some dance halls dens of iniquity. To be sure, most establishments were properly run, respectable venues, but a handful were less so. In the less reputable halls, it was not uncommon to find charity girls engaged in treating working as dancers. Although treating activity did occur in a good number of halls, and even in some of the more respectable places,[23] it rarely crossed into prostitution. The taxi dancers who engaged in treating, or the receipt of "presents," typically drew sharp distinctions between the activity and that of prostitution, but they often walked a fine line between the two. Periodically, licentious "close" dancing also was happening (see taxi dancer experience below) in some of the shady halls. Considered scandalous and obscene by many reformers, this kind of dancing was another concern to the authorities. Before long taxi-dance hall reform gained momentum, leading to licensing systems and more police supervision, and eventually some dance halls were closed for lewd behavior.[24] In San Francisco where it all started, the police commission ruled against the employment of women as taxi dancers in 1921, and thereafter taxi dancing in San Francisco forever become illegal.[25]

In the 1920s and '30s, taxi-dancer work was seen by many as a questionable occupation, somewhat on the margins of proper society. Even though most taxi dance halls were respectable venues, staffed with ordinary young women just working to make a proper living, some establishments were more suspect. The less reputable halls tended to draw a rougher, lower-class clientele, as well as the ire of reformers, and the image of the taxi dancing profession as a whole suffered. Often the young women who took up taxi dancing determined not to tell their parents and neighbors about their employment, or just outright lied if queried.

In the hall, the taxi dancers were usually gathered together behind a waist high rope or rail barricade on one side or corner of the room, and, as such, were not permitted to freely mingle with patrons. Because the male patron selected his dancing partner, the dancers had to appeal to him from their quarantined position. This produced a competitive situation, and on slow nights, which were not uncommon, the taxi dancers often cooed and coaxed to draw attention in their direction.[28] In time, and with more experience, a dancer usually developed some sort of distinctiveness or mannerism, in dress or personality, to attract the male patron. Those who did not were often not successful. Once selected, the taxi dancer tried to build a rapport with her partner so he stayed with her, dance after dance. Successful taxi dancers usually had a few patrons who came to a hall solely to dance with them, and for long periods. In some of the less reputable establishments the dancing at times was particularly close; the dancer used her thighs to make her partner erect, and if encouraged to continue, ejaculate.[29]

Patrons who tired of dancing but wished to continue talking with a taxi dancer usually could do so. A section in the dance hall with tables and chairs was reserved for this purpose. It was called "talk time," although other terms were used. In 1939, at the Honeymoon Lane Danceland in Times Square, the fee to sit and chat with a dancer was six dollars an hour, a princely sum for the time. At Honeymoon, although the dancer and patron were able to sit side by side, a low fence-like structure separated them due to police regulations.[30] It was not uncommon for taxi dancers to date patrons they had met in the dance halls, and this was generally acquiesced to by management. In 1923, author Henry Miller first met June, his second wife, at Wilson's Dancing Academy in Times Square where she was working as a taxi dancer. (Wilson's was later renamed the Orpheum Dance Palace in 1931.) Going by the alias June Mansfield or June Smith, she had started at Wilson's as a dance instructor in 1917 at age 15. 041b061a72


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