Students today receive a lot of conflicting advice about their educational paths and their career goals. Idealists urge students to find what makes them happy and pursue that, no matter what the obstacles. Others take a more practical stance and tell students to look at the job market and just focus on earning a degree for any in-demand field to guarantee job security. Each side just wants today’s youth to make good decisions that will lead them to successful lives, but they believe there are drastically different methods for achieving them. So the question becomes: should you get a dance degree?
In reality, the options don’t need to be so black and white. It’s entirely possible for students to follow their passions to create a meaningful career while still considering the realities of the job market. With the right plan, today’s dance enthusiasts can earn their dance degree in the arts and create successful careers for themselves.
Creating a Plan for Your Dance Degree
A person who loves dance so deeply that she wants to dedicate her career to it needs to start by knowing what her options are. According to Career Igniter, a good place to start in the world of dance is by examining all the roles that go into making a ballet production. Dancers who are drawn to designing movements and routines may enjoy becoming a choreographer, which the source said can sometimes offer greater job security than being a dancer. The ability to be both expands a student’s chances of landing a job after graduation.
Some entrepreneurial types may want to forge their own place in the dance industry by creating and running a new studio or production on their own. These students will want to also take business classes or even earn a separate business degree to understand how to get their company off the ground and keep it operational. Dance administrators are crucial members of the industry, and the role of administrator can make an excellent career
s for the dancers very interested in business.
Every dance student should take the time to consider where they would really fit in and enjoy their role in the industry. You know that you love dance, but ask yourself why you love it and which aspects of it in particular make you the happiest. Realizing this while you’re still in school allows you to supplement your dance degree with other classes or certifications that you’ll need to make your desired career a reality. The more well-rounded a dancer you are, the more marketable you’ll be when you graduate.
Working in Dance Education
It takes a great teacher to make a great performer. Talent needs to be trained, energy tempered, form polished before a performer can rise to his/her full potential. As a teacher, many dancers have a unique opportunity to practice their art while also sharing their passion for dance with others.
Shape America reported that dance teachers may be able to enter the field without separate teaching credentials. That means that professional performers retiring from the stage can find ways to begin teaching without needing an additional professional degree. That being said, there are a number of national and international dance organizations that offer additional training and certifications, and many in the dance community recommend or expect teachers to have some level of higher education before teaching classes on their own. Information about three of the larger organizations is available below:
National Dance Educators Associations
Teaching at a studio often requires professional understanding of a variety of dance styles (or, as an owner, hiring teachers who have different areas of expertise). To teach in a public school setting (K-12), additional certification is required a state-by-state level.
Knowing early that a career as a teacher might be an option can help young dancers to take beneficial classes or volunteer at their studio for extra teaching experience.
Combining Dance With Other Industries
Some students may decide that though they love dance, they may want a career that combines elements of other industries. For those with a wide range of artistic skills, becoming a dance critic or reporter can keep them close to the dancing action as they build their jobs around the written word. Most professional writers have a particular area of interest that they focus their pieces on. Dance writers are able to use the knowledge they gained with their dance degree to publish and share their thoughts on the industry.
The dance therapy industry is another sector that combines dance with other disciplines. Growing in popularity, dance therapy is used to treat physical and mental conditions in the same way as traditional psychotherapy. The American Dance Therapy Association frequently cites studies that support the practice’s role in treating anxiety and depression, among other ailments.
Whatever path you decide, you should know that there are plenty of ways to turn your love of dance and your dance degree into a realistic and enjoyable career, especially if you can start planning for it early.