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Dance and Musical Theatre

Overview

This page provides information and data on the Dance and Musical Theatre sector, which is one component of the Arts, Culture, Entertainment and Design industry, and includes dance performance, dance teaching and musical theatre.

The Dance and Musical Theatre sector includes performers in a wide variety of genres and styles. Vocational education and training (VET) is available for this sector, though performers rely on continuous learning and physical conditioning in order to gain employment as well as any qualifications.

Most performers in the Dance and Musical Theatre sector perform under a contractual relationship without a direct employer, with contracts ranging widely in length and terms. Performers of dance are a highly urbanised group, and are also increasingly reliant on multifaceted income streams.

The Dance and Musical Theatre sector includes dance teaching. Dance teachers tend to instruct school age students, and are less geographically clustered than performers, with more presence in regional areas. Most Dance Teachers either own their own business or are employed by a small business, though dance teaching positions also exist in larger organisations.

Nationally recognised training for the Dance and Musical Theatre sector is delivered under the CUA - Creative Arts and Culture Training Package.

For information on other live performance, see Live Production Services. For music performance, see Music.

Information has been sourced from the Culture and Related Industries IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast.

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

IRC and skills forecasts

Employment trends

For employment data, please refer to Arts, Culture, Entertainment and Design cluster page.

Training trends

Training snapshot

Program enrolments and completions in Dance and Musical Theatre-related qualifications increased overall between 2015 and 2018, with a slight decline in 2017 before increasing to approximately 4,840 commencements and around 2,050 completions in 2018. More than one third of qualifications were delivered at the certificate II level (40%), followed by certificate IV (22%), diploma or higher (19%) and certificate III (17%). Dancer or Choreographer was the most common intended occupation for students in this sector in 2018.

Certificates I, II, III and IV in Dance were the most popular qualifications, with approximately 65% of enrolments in these qualifications. Around 8% of enrolments were in musical theatre related qualifications in 2018. The majority of Dance and Musical Theatre-related qualifications were delivered by private training providers (83%) in 2018. The only signification variation to this was for Community Theatre, Dance and Events where 58% was delivered by TAFE institutes and 42% through schools. Overall, more than two thirds of funding for enrolments was domestic fee-for-service (70%), however, schools and TAFE institutes tended to have a higher level of Commonwealth and state funding at 87% and 58% respectively.

In 2018, students mainly resided in either Victoria (40%), Queensland (17%) or New South Wales (15%).

Approximately 44% of training was delivered in Victoria, followed by Queensland (19%), New South Wales (18%) and Western Australia (13%).

There were insufficient enrolments in apprenticeships or traineeships to allow analysis.

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, visit NCVER’s VET Students by Industry.  If you are prompted to log in, select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of Total VET.  

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

Industry insights

For an analysis of skills needs and workforce demand, see the Arts, Culture, Entertainment and Design cluster page.

As highlighted in the Culture and Related Industries IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast, creative workers within the Dance and Musical Theatre sector have been presented with new opportunities as a result of changing technology. These changes are enabling experiences like interactive performances and augmented and virtual reality, as a result, relevant training is required to ensure learners have the necessary skills for these technological advancements.

In addition, the Culture and Related Industries IRC's 2018 Skills Forecast listed five key drivers for change in this sector, including:

  • An increasing reliance on multifaceted income streams for those in the sector. This means those working in Dance and Musical Theatre need more general business skills such as record-keeping, invoicing and marketing, as well as resilience and self-care to operate most effectively in the sector.
  • Some vocational graduates lack basic industry knowledge, including interactions between associations, the nature of working arrangements and the scope of employment opportunities. This knowledge is often gained through informal upskilling on the job. Vocational learners need their training to include the general operation of the sector.
  • A misalignment of qualification titles and stream names, with the wider sector’s perception of skills related to the qualification. The varying skill levels of graduates from programs such as the Diploma of Dance (Elite Performance) is belied by the title of ‘elite’ and trainers, learners and employers assume ‘elite’ outcomes. Some qualification titles could therefore be renamed to better manage expectations.
  • Relatively high variance in skill and knowledge levels amongst dance and dance teaching graduates. This may be caused by an overly broad range of possible subjects included in these qualifications.
  • Increasing digitisation of equipment and sector-related technology. This has changed how performers attract and retain audiences, generate profit and analyse occupation-specific data. Training needs to provide learners with digital skills to take advantage of these trends.

For insights relevant to dance, musical theatre and other related fields generally, see the Arts, Culture, Entertainment and Design cluster page.

Links and resources

Data sources and notes

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET Student and Courses from the following training packages or qualifications:

  • CUA Creative Arts and Culture Training Package
  • Certificate I & II in Dance:
    • CUA10111 - Certificate I in Dance
    • CUA10113 - Certificate I in Dance
    • CUA20111 - Certificate II in Dance
    • CUA20113 - Certificate II in Dance
  • Certificate III & IV in Dance
    • CUA30111 - Certificate III in Dance
    • CUA30113 - Certificate III in Dance
    • CUA40111 - Certificate IV in Dance
    • CUA40113 - Certificate IV in Dance
  • Diploma & Advanced Diploma of Dance (Elite Performance)
    • CUA50111 - Diploma of Dance (Elite Performance)
    • CUA50113 - Diploma of Dance (Elite Performance)
    • CUA60111 - Advanced Diploma of Dance (Elite Performance)
    • CUA60113 - Advanced Diploma of Dance (Elite Performance)
  • Dance Teaching and Management
    • CUA40211 - Certificate IV in Dance Teaching and Management
    • CUA40313 - Certificate IV in Dance Teaching and Management
    • CUA30311 - Certificate III in Assistant Dance Teaching
    • CUA30313 - Certificate III in Assistant Dance Teaching
    • CUA50311 - Diploma of Dance Teaching and Management
    • CUA50313 - Diploma of Dance Teaching and Management
  • Community Theatre, Dance and Events
    • CUA30211 - Certificate III in Community Dance, Theatre and Events
    • CUA30213 - Certificate III in Community Dance, Theatre and Events
  • Musical Theatre
    • CUA40513 - Certificate IV in Musical Theatre
    • CUA50211 - Diploma of Musical Theatre
    • CUA50213 - Diploma of Musical Theatre.

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 program enrolments
  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 program completions.

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill-sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions, please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document. 

Low counts (less than five) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.  

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Culture and Related Industries IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast.

Updated: 03 Feb 2020
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