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Ballet Talk for Dancers

How to have a full-time career and dance?


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I’ve been dancing since I was three years old, mostly ballet, but also character, jazz, modern, Irish, tap, etc... I started doing ballet more seriously when I was 10 years old and I’m now 19. I really applied myself in school and had opportunities to take advanced classes, so long story short I already have a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and I’m working towards a masters.

Today was the second day of summer intensives and I was placed in level 3 out of 4 levels, where 4 is the highest level. Three years ago I was also in level 3, and my parents suddenly began to think that this means I didn’t make enough progress and at my age I  Tweakbox  should be in the highest level. They think that this means it’s not worth the time and money to continue taking such an intense level of ballet classes if I  Appvalley  have no chance at a career.

 I agree that given my academic abilities, I should put them to use and perhaps being a full time dancer isn’t a great choice. I need to decide what field of engineering I want to work in someday, but for now I am interested in aerospace. I still want to continue to dance in some way; I can't imagine lif https://vlc.onl e without dance, and my parents suggestion was to take some adult ballet classes.

I had another idea though that I haven’t shared: I really like musical theatre too. I have a background in music theory since I used to play piano and now play violin, so I can sing pretty well. I have years of dance experience; I would have to work on my acting, but that seems the easiest of the three to work on later in life. The only show I was ever in was a production of the Music Man, but it was a lot of fun and definitely not as intensive as daily, many hours of ballet class and rehearsal.

So, my question is this: Is it reasonable to work full-time someday as an engineer and perform in musical theatre productions? And do you agree that an engineering job and a ballet career is more intensive and not realistic? Or feel free to give me any other ideas you might have about how I can still have a chance to dance. 

Thank you for your feedback!

Edited by lucasPeni
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Hi there!

(Mods sorry if this is not allowed I’m not sure if I can post here or not but I have a relevant background).

So my bachelors degree is in engineering and now I’m a full time grad student in the same field (though I am a few years older than you now). I danced competitively growing up but was never amazing so I knew a dance career wasn’t on the table. But like you, I couldn’t imagine life without dance, so I continued to train throughout my school (how you managed to do full time dance training while doing your undergrad is beyond me, I’m very impressed!).

This year I joined a virtual company, which has been a lot of fun, even if all my rehearsals are remote. My dream is one day to start my own company for “people with a day job” 😂 where we’d rehearse once a week, take classes maybe twice, and then perform a few shows each season. But I’m a ways off from that.

I guess we are both still students so we have a little bit more time on our hands. I know for sure when I start looking for a real job I want to negotiate my work hours down for less pay. I don’t need the salary of an engineer, I need time. I don’t know if this is possible, it might not be since this field is full of workaholics, but I figure if I make myself a desirable asset to someone’s team I will be able to negotiate hours down.

Alternatively, if you work remotely and do some freelance work you might be able to join a company full time. Probably not a ballet company since that would take up too much of your day, but maybe some other company.


Anyways, it’s nice to meet another engineer/dancer. I hope you find something that works for you, and when you do I’d be happy to hear about it :)

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Welcome to BT4D LucanPeni.  Thanks for letting us know a bit about you.

In reality, from a practical stand point no - you cannot have a full-time job and a professional dance career at the same time simply because you cannot be in two places at once.  Dancers rehearse during the day (even in musical theatre) as well as performing at night, so trying to work 9-5 and rehearse 10-6 doesn't physically work.

That said, it doesn't mean you can never dance, or that you can never be an engineer.  Many people dance, and then have a different career after.  Or you can choose to have an academic career first and dance on the side.  There are amateur companies all over the world that do performances - just look around your area and see what is on offer.

Ballet also gives you skills that are tranferable to other areas of life - dedication, work ethis, perseverence, problem solving, physical fitness, mental agility and stamina, the list is endless.  There does come a point where you need to decide how to divide up your life.  Wheter that's go to college and dance on the side, dance now and go to college on the side, or whatever works for you.  It is your journey and you have to be happy living with it.  They are not mutually exclusive options, but one does have to take priority simply from a practical stand point.

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Hello Lucas,

If you have a degree in Electrical engineering, I'll bet your coding skills are pretty good. Remote work as a junior developer or software engineer could provide you with some flexibility in your schedule,  as well as a better income than many survival jobs as you plan your next move. Some are able to moonlight in this capacity while pursuing other goals; it depends on the individual, their skillset and the position. (If you've already earned a bachelors's in EE by 19, I'm thinking this could be you?) It's not a long-term solution, but could provide you with the means to fully explore your options. Best of luck!

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