Can today’s professionally trained dancer make a living performing in live theater or stage? That depends on a variety of factors.
In reviewing the following six categories of live theater/stage dance employment: Classical Ballet Company dancer, Principal Ballerina/Guest Artist, Radio City Rockette, Broadway/Regional Theater dancer, Las Vegas and other stage, Theme Park/Cruise ship dancer, the biggest challenge for the working dancer is job longevity, as many live theater jobs only last a few months or weeks. (Click on “view the list” for details on each).
Some dance jobs definitely pay better than others but may only last for a particular season, thereby compelling the dancer to supplement their income in other ways if they are unable to get immediately hired into another show. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the industries with the highest levels of employment of dancers after ‘performing arts companies’ are: drinking (alcoholic beverages) places, other amusement/recreation, schools/instruction, and spectator sports.
The list above is intended to be a general overview only of potential theater/stage dance jobs, and is by no means a complete representation of all possible varieties of employment. Since the data for the list was taken from a variety of sources, it is subject to potential discrepancies and updates. Please consult the resource links below and/or your local government agency for the most current information for your area and specific job.