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What does a Dance Captain do?

A Dance Captain is a member of the cast or company who is responsible for overseeing and maintaining the artistic standards of all choreography and musical staging within a long-running or touring production.

What are the main responsibilities of a Dance Captain in a musical?

The Dance Captain works closely with the Associate Director or Director, the Stage Manager and the Choreographer. A Dance Captain differs from a Choreographer as they work with and as part of the ensemble to ensure what the Choreographer has created is up to the standard needed for the show.

See what a Choreographer does here

A Dance Captain often undertakes the following duties:

  • Set any extra rehearsal times
  • Ensure all members of the ensemble are doing the choreography correctly and all in sync
  • Be able to demonstrate areas of the choreography for the rest of the ensemble

Most Dance Captains are also dancers within the show. This means that they might get an understudy or Swing to play their part on the night so they can watch and make notes on the show. They then use these notes to rehearse with the Dancers and ensure the choreography is maintained. They may also have to help work out who plays what role if someone within the ensemble is absent.

What qualifications do I need to be a Dance Captain in a musical?

A lot of Dancers do not need a formal qualification but formal training could be beneficial to help learn and develop your technique. Your training as a Dancer will help you find opportunities to be a Dance Captain. One of the following training courses could be useful to help you develop the skills needed to become a Dancer and Dance Captain:

  • Dance
  • Choreography 
  • Dance and performance
  • Musical Theatre
  • Modern ballet
  • Contemporary Dance
  • Tap Dance
  • Jazz Dance
  • Commercial Dance

See dance training opportunities here

What skills do I need to be a Dance Captain in a musical?

  • Physical fitness 
  • Attention to detail
  • Confidence speaking to groups of people
  • Leadership skills
  • Ability to give constructive criticism
  • Ability to learn choreography and musical staging
  • Excellent communication in instructing the company of the artistic vision 
  • Ability to keep calm under pressure
  • Organisation, efficiency and good record-keeping 

What does a career as a Dance Captain look like?

Most Dance Captains begin as a member of the ensemble. The Director and Choreographer will appoint a Dance Captain for the particular piece of choreography. Throughout your career you could then become an Assistant Choreographer and then a Choreographer. 

How much does a Dance Captain earn?

This amount can vary depending on the size of the production, the theatre and the number of tickets sold. Dance Captains can earn from £200 up to £1000 extra on their dancer’s rate. 

The above is a guide. Pay, salary or fee can vary depending on the theatre or company, as well as your personal experience. National institutions or commercial productions can pay in excess of the above, with profit-share or community theatre paying less.

See dance training opportunities here

References:

https://www.backstage.com/magazine/article/dance-captain-job-explained-77026/

https://www.mgcfutures.com/careers/dance-captain/

https://www.dancespirit.com/ins-and-outs-of-dance-captain-2532517084.html

Photo: Shutterstock

Updated: 23rd May 2024

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