Ballet dancers must be self-disciplined persevering and devoted to their profession. They must spend at least eight hours a day practicing to perfect their skills or rehearsing for dance productions. They often work in ensembles with other dancers musicians and directors so they must be team-players.
Good health physical stamina and agility as well as grace and a sense of rhythm are essential. With talent and sufficient experience some become leaders in dance productions or dance companies. Most major urban areas have dance companies but often they must tour for part of the year because of a limited performance schedule at home.
Ballet dancers may perform in operas musical theater and music productions whereas some work in dance studios and schools including colleges and universities. Some perform on television or in movies. Colleges and universities may offer bachelors or masters degrees in dance through departments of dance theater or fine arts. However these degrees are not required.
Many aspiring ballet dancers attend dance schools. Ballet dancers usually start out at as young as five years of age and have their first professional audition by age 17. They usually stop performing by the age of 30 because of the strenuous physical demands. With sufficient experience some become choreographers who create new dances and reinterpret existing ones.
This career is extremely competitive and the pay is not high because most ballet dancers do not enjoy regular employment unless they have established a reputation.
According Careeroverview.com the annual income of salaried dancers in 2002 ranged from less than $13000 to greater than $53000 with a median of $21100 though dancers on tour are given an additional allowance for room and board.