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Dance is the art of communication through movement of the body, usually in time with music and sound. The dance industry is an integral part of the live and recorded performing arts sector and gives a valuable contribution to the UK, both economically and culturally.
The dance industry in the UK employs an estimated 30,000 people who perform, teach or assist in all areas of the performing arts. It is an extremely diverse industry with many genres: African, ballroom, belly-dancing, classical ballet, contemporary, Flamenco, Irish, jazz, Latin American, country, street dance, and tap all included.
There are about 200 dance companies in the UK (Dance UK) but dance professionals also have important roles in other companies within theatre, music, television and film. Entertainment companies need dancers for a variety of different performances, whether on cruise ships, holiday resorts or major events.
Dance UK has discovered that there has been growth in the dance industry since the seventies, with an increase in dance companies and general increase in the amount of ticket sales for dance performances. Dance is important in education, health and social cohesion, not just for a career. More and more people now dance for fun, recreation, and for health.
With so many different genres of dance, there are no set routes into finding work. Naturally, a certain level of dance ability and talent will be required, as well as physical fitness, but the industry has opportunities for people from all backgrounds.
This career path has very tight links with the other performing arts, and many dance professionals might find opportunities to combine their dance work with music or theatre.