The world of dance is an ephemeral field. Maintaining a career as a full time dancer can be elusive, difficult to maintain, and short lived. However, there are many ways to extend a career in dance and remain active in your field or transition to something different entirely. Here are some ideas to consider:
1. Become a dance teacher.
This is perhaps one of the most popular career choices for dancers. You can teach at a studio, in a public school system with the proper qualifications, or a college dance program with a Master’s degree.
Being a dance teacher allows you to remain active physically while sharing your knowledge with others. You can also remain creative through choreographing routines for class and performances regularly. It helps to know which age group you want to teach, as some will require extra training or college degrees.
This is a great option that helps extend the longevity of a dance career.
Without dance teachers, the field of dance as we know it today would not exist!
Search out grant programs in your city to fund your work. Contact local theater groups who may be interested in hiring a choreographer for their plays or musicals. Seek out large scale entertainment companies who may need a choreographer for corporate or commercial work. Start your own dance company and forge a new, creative path!
3. Work in arts administration for a dance company or theater.
Your experience in the dance world will have given you a thorough understanding of the arts in general, and transitioning to a desk job is a good option to stay involved in the field if you desire a less physically active career.
This is a great position for those who can organize budgetary finances, schedule meetings, rehearsals, or shows, organize fundraisers, and be a support to the artistic director and overall vision of the company.
4. Become a yoga or Pilates instructor.
Yoga and Pilates are not only great conditioning supplements for dancers, but they also make wonderful second careers and additional income to full-time dancers.
The language of dance crosses over well into these fields. The breadth of kinesthetic knowledge from dance training translates effectively when teaching these mind-body techniques.
There are several types of trainings you can take to teach either field, ranging from 200-500 hour yoga teacher training, Pilates mat training, to full Pilates apparatus training. Most gyms and studios will require this in-depth training in order to teach.
In addition to teaching at such facilities, you can also teach private lessons or at corporate offices.
These are great career choices for dancers who either wish to continue to dance, or transition into a field that may be gentler on their body while allowing them to remain physically active.
5. Marketing for dancers.
This field may be closely related to working in arts administration for a company, or you could become a full blown graphic designer.
Work in this field could entail designing and maintaining web pages, designing flyers and other promotional materials, promoting events through social media, and more. Graphic design work may require additional training, which you could receive through online courses, community classes, or attending college to obtain a degree.
6. Become a dance photographer or videographer.
As a dancer, you have probably been on the other side of the lens many times. You already have an awareness of movement when you take the leap into the photography world, giving you an edge to predict great photo moments or video framing.
It could even lead to a bigger career in photography. Dancers and choreographers, especially, often have a great eye for creating imagery – after all, dance is essentially creating images with our bodies.
7. Costume or clothing designer.
As a dancer, you have been surrounded by costumes either your entire life or your entire career. You also know what feels good to practice in. With this advantage, you can create costumes, dancewear, or clothing that is designed to be moved in or move well with the body!
Learning to sew and create your own costumes could lead into working in the costume department of a dance company.
If you are passionate about designing your own gear, you could even start your own line. The internet has paved the way for a booming self-employment market, with marketplaces such as Etsy and independent online storefronts powered by PayPal or Shopify.
8. Become a physical therapist or dance medicine specialist.
As dancers, we know our bodies very well. If you have had extensive training, such as going through a college degree program, you probably have a wide range of anatomy and kinesiology knowledge. Injuries in dance are unfortunately common, and you may have even experienced some yourself and gone through physical therapy.
Even if you just have the curiosity, this can be an excellent and lucrative field for a dancer to enter. The ability to relate to a dancer and understand the dancer’s body as a physical therapist or medical doctor will give you an advantage that is hard to beat.
These are just a few ideas to get you started on how you can either extend your dance career, or transition into a new field. When searching for new jobs, be sure to think about all of the great things dance has provided you, such as discipline, punctuality, dedication, creativity, kinesthetic awareness, and more.
Know that your drive to succeed does not have to stop with dance, but you can take these many wonderful qualities to open new doors, build new bridges, and have a successful and happy life, no matter what you do.
Image by k4dordy