Whether you’re curious about how to make money dancing as a side job or want to dance your way to fame, there are plenty of ways to make money dancing.
From teaching dance classes to performing in theaters, there are all kinds of opportunities for dancers of all skill levels.
Want to start making some money by getting jiggy with it? In this post, we’ll cover everything, including the most pressing question – how much does a professional dancer make?
11. Participate in a Dance Competition
There are all kinds of dancers out there who became famous by competing in dance competitions. Example? So You Think You Can Dance!
These shows will not only help you become famous but can also allow you to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of winnings.
Although it’s hard to give average earnings for this one, since your likelihood of actually winning isn’t guaranteed income, some examples of popular dance competitions and their payouts are listed below:
- Dancing With the Stars – No prize pool for this popular show, but you’ll get the opportunity to have your work showcased on television – and meet celebrities, of course!
- World of Dance – This newer show has a grand prize of $1 million – and it’s hosted by JLo
- So You Think You Can Dance – The grand prize for this show is $250,000 and it regularly hosts open casting calls
Average Earnings: Varies
10. Sell Your Own Products
How much does a dancer make? Unless you’re talented, it can be hard to make a living as a performer. You might need to supplement with a side gig!
If you’re a dancer, there’s a good chance that you are both creative and highly talented. You can easily sell your own products to help you make extra money.
Example? You could sell video downloads of stretching routines, various dance moves, or get inspiration from one of these TikTok video ideas.
Maybe you’ve developed a particular type of ballet shoe that works remarkably well for your routines.
Perhaps you wrote an eBook about how to make it big in the dance industry.
Tactic for Success
You can sell these products by setting up your own website and Shopify account or you can even sell them on marketplaces like Etsy. You may not make a killing, but it’s a great way to bring in a little extra cash.
Average Earnings: $7.25/hour (Smart Money Mamas)
9. Work As a Professional Dancer
Also known as a “commercial dancer,” this is the most common option for people who want to make money dancing.
You could work in any of the following settings:
- Cruise ships – Work as a dancer on a cruise ship, and you’ll be able to travel the globe for free while also earning a competitive wage
- Movies – While you probably won’t earn a leading role as a dancer, there are all kinds of films that need backup dancers to set the scene
- Back-up dancing – Speaking of back-up dancing, you could apply for a role to be a back-up dancer for a band or solo artist
- Commercials – All kinds of commercials require dancers, too
- Musicals – Although this one will require a bit more of a long-term commitment, you could also dance in a musical (you may be expected to do some singing as well)
You’ll have to audition for most of these roles, meaning you may need an agent.
You’ll typically get a contract for a set period of time and while that time may be limited, you’ll be able to work on all kinds of different exciting projects.
Tactic for Success
To apply to audition for most of these professional dancing roles, you’re going to need an agent. Make sure you get a good one. The average agent charges 10-20% of your final earnings, so you’ll want to take the time to do some research so you can make sure you are investing in the right person.
Average Earnings: $21/hour (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
8. Monetize Your Social Media
Love your Instagram account as much as you love dancing? If so, you might want to consider monetizing your social media accounts to help you make some extra money as a dancer.
If you have a substantial following, companies will often pay you a stipend to advertise their services or products to your audience. This is a good ay to make money on YouTube without making videos too.
You might have to approach companies at first, but they’ll start coming to you later.
Average Earnings: $22/hour (ZipRecruiter)
Trend on the Rise
You can monetize just about any social media platform, but the one with the most traction in 2022 and beyond is TikTok. With more than 1 billion users (90% of whom log in every single day), TikTok is the best place to go if you want to make some money.
7. Choreograph for Special Events
Although it might not seem like it at times, there’s always a demand for performers – especially at special events, like weddings and corporate functions.
This is one of the more interesting jobs for ex teachers who already have experience in guiding dance classes and creating routines and recitals.
As a choreographer, you’ll design and direct the routines used in these performances. You might also perform in them yourself!
Average Earnings: $22.03/hour (Career Explorer)
Trend on the Rise
The dance industry is becoming more well-adapted to the digital age. As a result, you may need to know how to choreograph in a hybrid fashion (offering direction both online via Zoom and in-person). More choreographers are working remotely than ever before!
6. Teach Private Classes
Another way to make money as a dancer is to teach private classes or lessons online. You can do this by promoting them on your own blog or website or by teaming up with local studios, online learning platforms, and more.
There’s so much room to be creative with this one. Example? You could team up with a local company to offer lunchtime dance classes for its employees. How fun is that?
Average Earnings: $22.87/hour (Zippia)
5. Personal Trainer
If you love the physical aspects of dancing but don’t necessarily want to perform day and night to make a living, you might want to consider a related career as a personal trainer.
You’ll still be able to be highly active but you won’t have to hustle constantly.
You could work at a gym or a training facility to help provide instruction. You could also teach lessons to complement your work with private clients. The options are endless!
Average Earnings: $23.76/hour (Indeed)
4. Teach Dance in a School
You could also teach dance in a school. You’ll be able to sow inspiration in the hearts of young people, while also earning a salary that’s reliable and dependable.
It also offers a more clearly defined career path, so you won’t always be searching for “the next thing.”
The challenge is that finding a job as a dance teacher can be difficult. You may have to be willing to teach other arts subjects, like performing arts, music, or visual arts.
You may also have some luck in finding a dance teaching job at an arts magnet school or performing arts school.
Average Earnings: $26.01/hour (Zippia)
3. Teach Dance at the College Level
Another option is to teach dance at the college level. You’ll teach both technique and lecture courses and may be able to find work at a community college or four-year university.
You’ll enjoy many of the same benefits as primary and secondary school teachers but you may have better luck finding a job.
However, keep in mind that you will need at least a Master’s degree (or sometimes even more education than that) in order to qualify for one of these jobs.
Average Earnings: $27/hour (ZipRecruiter)
2. Become a Dance Writer
Here’s a fun opportunity to try! If you have a knack both for dancing and writing, you may want to combine them to become a dance writer.
You can go about this in several ways. You can pitch articles to your favorite websites or magazines.
You can also work as a freelance writer and find jobs on boards like Upwork or Freelancer. You can even start your own blog!
Average Earnings: $30/hour (ZipRecruiter)
1. Create a YouTube Account
Do you love performing in front of a camera? If so, you can make yourself famous (and make some extra money as a dancer) by starting your own YouTube account.
With this opportunity, you’ll be generating revenue through ad traffic and advertising.
You can shoot videos about dancing, your numbers, and tips for new dancers. Your goal should be to create videos that result in high engagement on your channel.
You will be able to make money from the advertising, but you may also be able to generate some cash by partnering with brands who sell things like shoes, dancewear, or even dance schools.
Average Earnings: $39/hour (ZipRecruiter)
Whether you’re an experienced dancer or just starting out, there are plenty of ways to make money dancing.
From teaching dance classes to performing in shows and weddings, the opportunities are endless.
Rebekah is a writer who covers all things education, business, agriculture, and finance. She owns a small farm business in upstate New York. Her educational credentials include a bachelor's degree in English from St. Lawrence University and a master's in special education from SUNY Plattsburgh.