More than 11,000 professional dancers worked in the U.S. in 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These performing artists work for theater, ballet and dance companies. Some dance in movies, television commercials and music videos, while others teach. Some have college degrees in various dance forms, but it is usually not a requirement. Professional dancers earned an average of $34,424 per year in 2009, according to the BLS.
Professional dancers earned a median hourly rate of $13.16 in 2009, according to the BLS. Median wages appear in the middle of wage lists and can vary from average wages. This hourly rate projects to a yearly salary of $27,373, based on a 40-hour workweek. The middle half earned between $8.83 and $21.48 per hour, or $18,366 and $44,678 annually. The top 10 percent made more than $30.43 per hour, or $63,294 per year.
Professional dancers' wages vary by employer. Those working as colleges instructors tended to earn the highest wages, averaging $48,589 per year, according to the BLS. Dancers made an average of $41,371 working for performing arts companies. They earned $37,918 working for amusement parks.
Dancers' average wages can vary considerably by state. They earned the highest pay in Oregon, at $55,432 per year, according to the BLS. They earned the second highest wages in New York, averaging $50,960 per year. Dancers earned above-average wages of $36,338 annually in Nevada, which employs the third highest number of dancers next to California and New York. Professional dancers made significantly less in Missouri, $26,936 per year.
The number of jobs for choreographers and dancers is expected to increase by 6 percent between 2008 and 2018, according to the BLS. The public is expected to support jobs for mid-size and larger dance companies. Those working for smaller organizations may see fewer available jobs.