Backup Dancer

Accompany lead performers in high-power dance routines.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
Highly Variable

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Backup Dancers do?

If you’re a Backup Dancer, it’s your job to accompany a lead performer — a Dancer, for instance, a Singer or even an Actor — by dancing with him or her on screen or on stage, adding depth and dimension to a piece of choreography.

You may not be the lead, but you nevertheless play an important part. Consider this: When it’s storming outside, you need a backup generator. When you’re tackling a big project and something goes wrong, you need a backup plan. And when you’re putting on a big show, like a concert, musical, or revue, the most important “backups” you’ve got are Backup Dancers.

While the lead performer is front and center in the foreground, you’re in the background along with an entire cast of Backup Dancers who dance in unison as part of a production. You might dance on stage in musical revues and stage productions, including concerts, plays, operas, and musicals, or you might dance on screen in music videos, television shows, and movies. Always, however, your days consist of some combination of the following: training, exercise, dance classes, auditions, callbacks, rehearsals, and performances.

Maybe you’re a full-time Backup Dancer, or maybe you’re dancing on your way to something bigger (Kevin Federline, Jennifer Lopez, and Madonna all began their careers as Backup Dancers). Either way, you’re paid to do what you love most: boogie, groove, and bust a move!


Should I be a Backup Dancer?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • How to become a Backup Dancer

    Most Backup Dancers have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Associate's degree to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9aclaa&chl=no+college+%2882%25%29||associate%27s+%283%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2815%25%29|master%27s+%281%25%29|&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,82,82
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