It’s Not a Fall Back Position, it’s a Parallel Career – Plan on it!

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Let’s be real, it isn’t if, it’s when. As dancers, a majority of us will need to face the fact that being a performer or choreographer alone is not going to be enough to get by. So why not plan on it? As performers most of us will be freelancers, getting gigs as they come up, and choreographers compensation rarely is enough to pay the rent. Yes, some of us can make a living in our art, but statistics show the small percentages that make that happen. Given that fact, why not look at the opportunities to train for a dance centric life that will pay the bills. There are so many opportunities!

  • Dance therapy
  • Exercise science
  • Teaching
  • Backstage professions
  • Arts administration
  • Dance arts and healing
  • Massage
  • Pilates
  • Gyrotonics
  • Yoga
  • Personal training
  • Garment design
  • Merchandising
  • Dance merchandise sales
  • Event management
  • Dance product development
  • Dance website development
  • Lawyer for the arts
  • The list goes on and on!

If you are getting ready to go to college, take some time to look at where your passion and interest intersect. Are your parents opposed to you majoring in dance because they don’t believe it is a profession? Put their minds at ease, and do the research to show them you can and will make a living through your dance passion. Consider a school that offers double majors or minors. If you want to teach be sure to pick a school that offers a series of pedagogy classes so you are trained as a teacher. Are you interested in dance merchandising and design? Look for a school that has a Fashion Department as well as a Dance Department. Arts Administration is offered as a major at many schools that also offer Dance Majors.

I recently met a dancer who also holds a degree in Geology. She is a scientist by day and a dancer at night. Basically, marry your interests and then match them with the school. When you go visit a college be sure to talk about all your interests and goals and make sure the school can offer what you need.

Some college programs offer certifications as well as degrees, like in Pilates or in Dance and Healthcare. Many of these certified professions allow you to make your own hours so you can take class, go to auditions, rehearse and still make a living in your art. If you are past college, you can still get certified in any number of parallel careers.

And don’t forget the value of internships. Internships with dance organizations offer you a great way to get hands on learning experience, and often come with perks that let you take classes or go to performances for free.

An exploration of your options will help you make educated choices and keep dance in your life forever.

Click here for more wonderful articles by Susan!

2 Comments
  1. […] Here is a link to my first post on Discount Dance Supply’s new online magazine Dance Life: It’s Not A Fallback Position, It’s a Parallel Career […]

  2. […] Let’s be real, it isn’t if, it’s when. As dancers, a majority of us will need to face the fact that being a performer or choreographer alone is not going to be enough to get by. So why not plan on it? As performers most of us will be freelancers, getting gigs as they come up, and choreographers compensation rarely is enough to pay the rent. Yes, some of us can make a living in our art, but statistics show the small percentages that make that happen. Given that fact, why not look at the opportunities to train for a dance centric life that will pay the bills. There are so many opportunities! To read the entire article click here: It’s Not A Fallback Position, It’s a Parallel Career […]

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