Should I Go to College for Dance?Sep 15, 2022
Should I Go to College for Dance?
Do you struggle with the decision of going to college for dance? I did too. I see you, Dancer. I get it. I’ve been there. What if I told you the decision of whether or not to go to college for dance…didn’t have to be so stressful? The tips I will share with you in this blog post will help you tackle this big decision so that you can look forward to your future, not stress over it.
By the end of this blog post you will have a clearer understanding of who SHOULD and who SHOULD NOT go to college for dance so that you can be armed with the knowledge to help you in your big decision.
Who SHOULD go to college for dance
Do you ever wonder if spending $65-100k and 4 years of your life on a degree in dance is right for you? With the cost - both in dollars and in your precious time - so high, it’s no wonder Dancers stress over this decision! I know I stressed over this. “Should I audition for companies? Should I go to college for dance? Will getting a degree shorten my dance career by 4 years or be helpful? College is expensive - is a degree in dance worth the cost to get it?”
I asked myself these very questions. When considering if YOU should go to college for dance, it’s important to be thorough and thoughtful. Let’s face it - this is a big decision!
Before we dig in, I want to address the word “should” for a sec. "Should" can be a sneakily dangerous word. When I say “should I got to college for dance,” it is really reflecting what someone else might want for or expect of me, rather than what I genuinely want.
So be watchful for this word and it’s implications. Sometimes the hardest part can be quieting all the noise so that you can tap into what YOU really want. So keep this encouragement close to you as you make this decision.
Who would be a good candidate to go to college for dance?
- Dancers wanting to choreograph. College Dance Majors get exposed to SO MANY new styles and take entire classes on choreography and movement. If you aim is to become a choreographer, a becoming a dance major in college is a solid first step.
- Dancers wanting to become an arts administrator. What’s a dance arts administrator, you say? Arts administrators make the arts happen. They are the organizers of the arts world. They wear many hats and do things such as help run dance studios or academies, book venues for companies, promote events, manage budgets and more. A dance major with an arts admin concentration would set you up for success if this is what you want long-term.
- Dancers wanting to seek a professional career in dance, but need more time to train or more time to grow emotionally. Not everyone is ready to be on their own after graduating high school! Living on your own, making your own schedule, cooking for yourself, supporting yourself…these are all things that take a certain level of maturity. And not everyone graduates ready to jump into the audition circuit or hop into a teaching career. College gives dancers a bridge into the next step by giving the dancer structure and teachers and mentors who help them along in their educational journey.
- Dancers wanting to study dance research, anatomy, nutrition, injury prevention, etc. A dance kinesiology degree may be just the thing for you!
This list is obviously not exhaustive, but it’s a good starting point!
Who SHOULD NOT go to college for dance?
- Dancers who feel like they SHOULD go to college for dance because it’s what’s expected of them. If you feel this way, first off, I’m giving you a virtual hug because I’ve been there too. My parents wanted me to go college for dance and I wanted to audition for companies right away. I always knew I would go back to college after dancing and study something else (which I did - I now have degrees in Business and Legal Studies). But my parents expected me to go college right away. But just because someone has expectations for you, doesn't mean their expectations are best for your long term goals.
- Dancers who aren’t sure what else to do. Many Dancers carry the “identity” of “Dancer.” There’s a good chance that under your instagram handle, it says “dancer.” But just because “Dancer” has been your self-proclaimed title for the past 10 years, doesn’t mean that a career in dance is to be your destiny. I’ve taught at a two colleges and many of my students there…had no idea what they were going to do with their dance degree but just…wanted to keep dancing. Parting ways with being a dancer is hard - I know because I have already grieved that loss. But in many ways, once a dancer, always a dancer. Here is a link to an article I wrote by that very title. If you struggle with this, you will really benefit from giving it a read.
- Dancers who are technically proficient and emotionally ready for a company or professional gig. If this is in fact the case, you can save yourself the hefty financial cost of a 4 year degree and start your professional career right after high school. Let’s face it - dance careers tend to be short-lived and passing on a 4 year degree can buy you more time.
There ya have it! My list of dancers who should and should not go to college for dance. Now you have the tools to weigh out your own situation as you make this big decision.
If you still feel stuck and unsure how to tackle this decision, be sure to check out The College Dance Decision! This is an online, 4-session mini course brought to you by Caitlin Sloan of The Brainy Ballerina and myself. If you feel like you need a career mentor and coach to help you when making this decision, this course is just what you need!!
We will see you back here next 360 Thursday, but until then, Dancer, keep shining on with all that you are.
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