• Company director
• Marketing/PR/social media manager for company, venue, or festival
• Company operations manager or development officer
• Movement therapist
• Physical therapist
• Dance historian
• Dance critic/journalist (editor at Dance Spirit, anyone?)
• Dance filmmaker/photographer
• Costume designer
• College dance professor
• Talent agent/manager
As a studio owner, developing an understanding of sound business practices on top of continual learning and growth in dance is important. I would encourage you to explore all possibilities and to consider the pros and cons before making a definite decision. The following is the sentiment of many successful professionals in dance:
Perhaps one of the most tangible benefits of graduating with a BA, BFA, or BS is entering the industry with a built-in career network. This might mean you already know the people who are hiring or can get you hired, and have to spend less time and energy to breakthrough. "I'm actually seeing many companies move away from the cattle-call audition—choreographers are meeting prospective dancers through workshops, intensives, and, yes, by working with college students".
To this point, most of my personal dance network was formed while attending college and majoring in dance. However, I will be the first to also to state I have met many extremely successful dance professionals that did not go to college, although the struggle may be significant in the journey to the "big break". At the end of the day, your dreams and your ability to achieve them can only be determined by yourself. Maybe visiting a few colleges and universities with both good business schools and dance departments should be a part of your decision-making process. Here is a list of top-ranked dance programs to check out and see what you think.
Best wishes as you pas de bourree into a wonderful future!
Esther Renee recommends the following next steps:
The fact that I have a degree from such an esteemed university has certainly helped me in my current career in the corporate world, but it was not often appreciated in the dance world. When you go to an audition they couldn't care less who has a degree in dance, they care about who fits what they are looking for (good technique, personality, height, weight, etc). As far as becoming a choreographer, its not that dissimilar to a degree in performance not helping a 'wanna be performer'. You will be judged by your work - and the catch 22 of needing someone to give you a chance so you can prove yourself/show your work can be frustrating.
It's a tough road (dance as a career) and I learned from my college experience that I was not cut out for a life of performing (injury prone and lack of good training, and perhaps not passionate enough to 'starve for my art'). I believe this was a valuable lesson to learn by the age of 22. Some of the benefits of getting a degree is the hands-on production experience, consistent high-level training, and the contacts/people you meet while in school (both faculty and fellow students) - as well as having "the traditional college experience", depending on where you go. To be fair, I don't know that I went to the right program for what I wanted to do. I was a jazz dancer and the program was only focused on modern dance. I now love modern dance, but I was more interested in 'entertainment dance', which was frowned upon by the faculty so I stopped doing it. I didn't have anybody in my life who knew anything about dance to help guide me. So, if you do decide to pursue a degree, I encourage you to seek help from people you respect in the dance world and to visit the programs and meet the faculty.
Jennifer recommends the following next steps:
I highly recommend rounding out your skill sets in marketing to enable you to be able to bring business into the dance studio.
David recommends the following next steps: