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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Non-performing but related career


moreilly

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I'm wondering what sorts of careers are out there related to dancing that do not include performing. While dancing is what makes me happy, I suffer no delusions that I will ever perform professionally as I got a very, very late start. At this point I work a meaningless office job for a Fortune 500 company and it is less than enjoyable (to be kind). I'd like to make a complete career detour, and I'm sure I need to start with an education, but I'd like to know what options are out there in the dance arena so I can decide on a path to take.

 

Part of my uncertainty stems from the fact that I live in a smaller city. While not rural by any means, Reno, NV is definitely not a cultural metropolis.

 

Any suggestions?

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The one that comes to my mind first is arts administration. You're not dancing yourself, but you're working around dancers and helping make it possible for them to work.

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Your story reminds me of Alice in Wonderland:

 

Alice: Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?

The Cat: That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.

Alice: I don't much care where.

The Cat: Then it doesn't much matter which way you go.

Alice: …so long as I get somewhere.

The Cat: Oh, you're sure to do that, if only you walk long enough.

 

Without knowing your likes and dislikes, it is hard to provide any guidance. Hans has suggested arts administration.

 

There's a famous book titled "What Color Is Your Parachute? 2011: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers" that might be helpful to you. Please use the Amazon search at the top of the page to purchase the book and to help support this site.

 

The book helps you to identify your likes and dislikes as well as your strengths and weaknesses. Get a good understanding of who you are and where you should be going in your career.

 

Then, once you have a stronger sense of your direction, set up a meeting with ballet or other dance company. Ask them about their different roles. Talk to them about your interests, strengths, and passions. Learn the demands and expectations for different positions within their organization.

 

Perhaps you would be great at performing administration work? Or, designing and building sets? Or, perhaps, you want to become a physiotherapist and work with dancers? Perhaps, you want to become a web designer and work for several different ballet companies? Does marketing and promoting interest you? As you can see, various positions range from quiet work with a computer, to hands-on work, to working a lot with people, to working much by yourself, to have specialized knowledge and training, and to being an generalist. Without more information, it is difficult to provide specific advice.

 

As you decide to change career paths, find out what you like and dislike. If you can eliminate those jobs you dislike, that's half the battle. Next, find your strengths and where you can apply your strengths.

 

If there is just one piece of advice from this message it is this: Discover what you like and don't like as well as what you are good at. Some might say that's two pieces of advice. Good luck.

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After I broke my back, one of my dance professors at college recommended that I do a masters in dance history. You could end up being a lecturer at uni, perhaps.

 

At dance camp this summer, we had a massage therapist who was also a dancer. She said her goal was to be a dance massage and physiotherapist. Those are few and far between, I might add, so that's a worthy career (physio, if you don't want to do massage itself).

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I've looked into athletic training as an option, but unfortunately there is not an accredited program near me. I'm not really in a position to move right now, so I may have to look into the dietetic program at the local university. It's not ideal, but it's something! :]

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There are some you can do online. ACE runs one I think. It's not a biggie thing in terms of degrees but it will get you a foot (sorry about the pun) in the door for gyms and suchlike. It's very anatomy-based. I have the textbook and practice cards, as a former teacher had wanted at one stage to do it but then ran out of steam for studying...

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There are some you can do online. ACE runs one I think. It's not a biggie thing in terms of degrees but it will get you a foot (sorry about the pun) in the door for gyms and suchlike. It's very anatomy-based. I have the textbook and practice cards, as a former teacher had wanted at one stage to do it but then ran out of steam for studying...

 

I actually hadn't considered the personal training route; when I said athletic training I meant prevention and treatment of injury, functional limitations, etc. In that field the nearest CAATE accredited program is 450 miles away.

 

Would there be much use for personal training that is not specifically dance instruction? It's a very good suggestion and I wonder how much opportunity it would afford me.

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