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Career in India        

Education in India, Career in India: Dancing

Looking for a Career Option in the Field of Dancing ? This section features Dancing as a career option, elaborated with reference to the job profile, personality traits required, the courses and training involved, premier institutions and future prospects.

Dancing is an inherent part of Indian culture. There are many well-known classical and folk dances. These dance forms are typical to certain parts of the country and have taken on the hue and texture of that region. The two main divisions of dance are classical and folk forms. There are dance forms typical to certain parts of the country and these dance forms are based on ancient dance discipline. Among the most popular classical styles of dance seen on stage are Bharatnatyam of Tamil Nadu, Odissi of Orissa, Kathakali of Kerala, Kuchipudi of Andhra Pradesh, Kathak of Lucknow and Jaipur and Manipuri of Manipur. There are several other forms of dances that fall into the category of semi-classical, folk, drama and martial arts contributing to the panorama of dance in India.

Some artists who have been able to command attention earn a substantial amount from the pursuit of their art as a full-time career. But the numbers are very few. Thus in their case the success in their careers depends upon their expertise in the field.

Training in Dance should start as early as age six or less, much before the official professional training. Besides an in born talent, the basic requirement for a full time Professional training is matriculation or 10 + 2. Some institutes at the time of admission even give preference to students having a talent. Careers in this field can be that of a performer, teacher and choreographer.

Personality Traits

Performers should have an attractive appearance, stage presence, strong back, resilience, intuition, emotional depth, a strong constitution, complete dedication, creativity, versatility, sense of rhythm, appreciation for drama and music, the ability to take criticism without resentment, capacity for expression are useful for dancing. Indian dance is usually performed as an enactment of a theme aided by verse, gestures and facial expressions which in combination with music establish the language-which is the reason why a successful dancer has not also to express the exact mood without exaggeration by appropriate gestures and facial expression.

For those who want to pursue a career in teaching or choreography should have a liking for people of all ages, tact, endless patience, ability to explain verbally and to demonstrate the steps and movements of a dance, a fine sense of rhythm, some proficiency in music, good appearance, graceful movements, a friendly confident manner, energy, and enthusiasm.

Dance as a Career


Choreography includes dance compositions, the grouping of dancers and establishing the sequence of dances to make up a ballet. Dancers who have exceptional imaginative powers and the ability to interpret music in terms of dancing may ultimately take up choreography.

Choreographers may work in films, on stage, for television and video music shows.

Prospects in this field are expanding with more and more stage and TV shows and ever-thriving world of films. A novice cannot be easily trained for a career in choreography. Experience of dance and a very good ear for music are essential. There are not many organized courses of training. The notable ones are available at Sangeet Akademi, Delhi for choreography and ballet direction while the Natya Indtitute of Kathak and Choreography, Bangalore, offers a 3 year degree in choreography.


To be in this field one needs an aptitude to teach, initiative and patience. They must also have thorough knowledge of practical and theoretical aspects of dance. They should have a perfect sense of rhythm, and some proficiency in music.

Dancers who take up teaching as a profession can find opportunities in schools, colleges, universities, dance institutes and even open schools of their own.


To be a performing artist one must have attractive appearance, facial expression, an ability to interpret roles and stage presence. Performers have to spare time everyday for practicing. They must also have to keep in touch with the interest of the general public. They must travel a lot and give performances to be popular. Besides professional training; dedication, talent and the right contacts can only help a performer to become well established.

Performing artists can form their own troupes or even work with other troupes. They also have the option of starting schools and devote time for teaching.


Serious professional training must start early, running in parallel to academics, at the latest by the age of 10 years. A well-qualified teacher should be assigned the task of imparting training. Full-time official training should start right after matriculation with a previous background of training during school years.

Professional training of a dancer includes practical and theoretical training. Students are taught the basics of music, rhythm, instruments, the history and evolution of dance and dance forms, the characteristic feature of the dance form one specializes in and so on. The courses of training imparted by the various professional schools of dance are comprehensive, covering all aspects of dance as a performing art and are suitable for those who want to take up a performing career or a teaching one.


Please click here for the list of the Dancing Institutes in India.

Placements And Prospects

Many dancers are employed by academies, kala kendras, Doordarshan, Dance troupes, All India Radio and teaching institutions. Employment opportunities to drama artists are provided by professional theatrical and opera companies and semi-theatrical institutions eg. AIR, television studios, movie studios, films division, song and drama division etc. Several corporate houses, and private institutions sponsor performances of musicians and dancers and thereby promoting culture as well as their products. There are also many opportunities for self-employment in the form of holding private classes or starting an institution.

There are a few performers who have been constantly or continuously successful. Until a dancer becomes well established, fees commanded are not high. Good professional training need not necessarily ensure success. Good professional contacts are very crucial in the profession of a performing artiste.

Dedicated and talented persons with the right contacts can become well established. The more an artiste travels and performs, the more her/his fame spreads. A dancerís professional life is short and, therefore, most dancers engage in teaching on a part-time basis and then go on to become full-time teachers.

Starting a dance school in a residential neighborhood has good prospects as children can easily pursue dancing after school. Schools also prefer to have a dance teacher on a full-time basis so as to handle cultural activities and organize children, train them for inter-school competitions, etc. Professional schools and universities offer full-time as well as part-time assignments.

Salaries are not very high but offer a comfortable lifestyle. Personal training fetches good fees.

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