Dancers’ working conditions



Are you a dancer? Are you about to spend some time in another EU member State on a temporary work assignment or simply looking out for job opportunities? If yes, then this information is for you!

Dancers spend a considerable part of their lives training very hard to become professionals. They usually begin formal training at an early age – between 5 and 15 – and many have their first professional audition by age 17 or 18. When they succeed, despite the intense competition, their careers are notoriously short. Many dancers stop performing by their late 30’s. Whilst teaching, coaching, directing and choreography are among the possible career alternatives for professional dancers - indeed, some of them combine such work to some degree with their performance work – professional transition remains invaluable to offer a real spectrum of choices to dancers upon their early retirement and thereby ensure that these skilled and highly trained individuals can continue to be an asset on the labour market.

Dance is also very strenuous and physically demanding. As many dance companies tour for part of the year to supplement a limited performance schedule at home, dancers end up spending much of their time on the road. Most dance performances are in the evening, whereas rehearsals and practice take place during the day. As a result, dancers often work very long and late hours.

Finally, dancers rank amongst the most mobile of all performers. Less constrained by language barriers, they work in many countries throughout their careers and often struggle to reconcile different social security, tax and administrative regimes they may be subject to when that happens.

FIA has a long history of working with dancers, promoting valuable union assistance to those working temporarily abroad, gathering consistent data on their working conditions, disseminating good practices in the field of career transition – much of which is referenced on this page.