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Ballet Talk for Dancers

career coaching?


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hi everyone- I am wondering if anyone has experience with professional dancers working with paid career coaches? Not dance class but sit down talking about their careers, problem solving and advising? I expect much of this is done informally through networks and unpaid mentorship but am wondering if dancers are formalising this relationship? thanks for any thoughts or even referrals! 

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Eligus

I have long advocated for one of my DD's teachers to try her hand at this time of professional coaching (almost like a head hunting/recruiting position).  I do believe there is a need (and market) for it.  She and I have talked over the idea a few times.  We discussed the idea that she would teach a "private" class to the dancer, and then offer consulting services, afterwards.  She has done this on an ad-hoc basis already, for those clients who have asked for her advice.

What we have discovered, however, is that such professional coaching would be quite difficult to DO.  To my mind, it takes a certain amount of judgment about a dancer's personality and technical ability that makes it difficult to provide advice and coaching about the potentials for a career on a "marketable" scale.  In addition to the knowledge about the dancer his or herself, you would also need to have a firm grasp on the trends of the dance companies... a sort of profession-wide lens/analysis, where you would be able to advise the dancer that he/she "dances like" XYZ artistic director favors.  

I still think it is POSSIBLE to do, and would add value to a dancer, but I'm guessing it's already being done on a much more informal (and free) basis by "mentors"... which is why networking and remaining professional and enthusiastic about your "job" in the small world of dance is so important. 

But I am very interested in other people's ideas about this.

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Miss Persistent

I agree I think it is possible, but there would be inherent difficulties as Eligus notes.  Essentially it could work the same as having a business coach or mentor who specialised in dance. Whether or not that is an actually viable business I do not know - one would need to research their market to find out.  I also worry that it would eventually lead to third parties working on behalf of dancers -  like having a 'agent' essentially.  The same as sports stars and actors who have agents negotiate on their part.  Perhaps this already happend at top levels and I know there are arts agents, but the dance world is already stretched financially without a middleman taking a cut! 🤑

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Yes I think the coach would need to have additional education in some form of counselling. Being another dancer would not be enough as what I am envisioning would include some ability to consider mindsets and motivations etc. No not an agent. A personal advisor. Anyways I see that in Canada, there is an organisation called the Dancer Transition Resource Centre (DTRC)  which has a list of coaches who are counsellors to support times of transition etc, for their members. We are going to explore that. Has anyone had experience with that program?

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Blanche

Although it is a short-term program (and may be in progress now...), my older DD found Compass Coaching Project to be a life-changing experience. It is run by Dominic Walsh through Colorado Conservatory of Dance. The program is very small and individualized. It's not really ongoing, but it is a great resource once "in the fold."

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