Dance Captain

Get insights from Dance Captain Steve Hughes

“It’s a big responsibility being a Dance Captain. You have to really look after the creativity of the show – the way it’s created, the original vision of the director and the choreographer. You have to stick as closely to that as you can.”

Steve Hughes


A Dance Captain is a member of the company responsible for overseeing and maintaining the artistic standards of all choreography and musical staging within a production. They work closely with the Associate Director and/or the Stage Manager to communicate and preserve the artistic vision of the Creative Team.


  • Learn all choreography and musical staging
  • Assist auditions for new company members
  • Teach choreography
  • Lead dance rehearsals with understudies/swings
  • Review all choreography, give notes and schedule additional rehearsals in liaison with the Stage Manager
  • Assist in the assignment of understudies and swings to cover choreography in the event of company absences, updating the whole company
  • Rehearse replacement company members with partners, especially when staging requires rehearsal to ensure safety – e.g. lifts
  • Re-space musical staging if there are absences, ensuring positions are covered with minimal gaps
  • If the Dance Captain is also a swing, they may need to replace a company member who’s absent or injured, sometimes at very short notice
  • Keep record of all changes, informing the Stage Manager of additional duties so company members’ pay is calculated accurately

Key Skills

  • Peak physical fitness
  • Good muscle memory to learn all choreography and musical staging
  • Excellent communication in conveying the artistic vision of the Creative Team, including people skills
  • Calmness, particularly when working under pressure
  • Organisation, efficiency and good record-keeping


Dance training is widely available in colleges, drama schools and universities, many offering both full and part-time courses. Some courses are exclusively focused on dance while others include it within a broader training programme, such as for Musical Theatre. Entry is by audition with successful applicants demonstrating a passion for dance and a solid technical base.


Other courses are available. Those above represent a sample from various colleges, drama schools and universities.

Further Reading

  • Being a Dancer: Advice from Dancers and Choreographers by Lyndsey Winship, 2015
  • The Intimate Act of Choreography by Lynne Anne Blom, 1982