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Getting To ‘Go’Article appeared in Dance Spirit, November 1999
"Why go to college if you're not going to do anything academic?"
"Do you really need to go to college to dance all day?"
"What more do you need to learn to be a dancer?"
"Will you ever get a real job?"
The person asking these questions may be your mom or dad or the boy who sits next to you in chemistry lab. You might even have asked yourself some of these questions. Dancers have traditionally thought of college as a way to prepare for a "back-up" career - something you'd do if you fail to get a dance job or become injured and are unable to dance.
Increasingly, however, the dance world has grown to value the educated dancer who brings reason and knowledge to their art. If you're a talented dancer and you're also a good student, you might be just the right candidate for a high-quality college or conservatory dance program.
You know that a college dance program is demanding and you feel ready for the challenge. Your parents, on the other hand, may have some concerns. They may fear that four years of college will leave you with a lot of student loans and few marketable skills. They may not understand your commitment to a field that offers few guarantees of success. They may not know how much more you can learn about the dance world, and they may wonder if what you will learn is worth the high cost of tuition.
Leslie Koval, a modern dancer as well as a dance faculty member at the Boston Conservatory, advises students whose parents do not yet support their desire to dance to listen to their parents' concerns. Assume that your parents have your best interest at heart and that they want to protect you from disappointment. It is up to you to show them that you have the maturity to survive the difficulties that go along with dance study. Help them see how the life skills you will acquire in a dance program - respect, concentration, responsible risk-taking and dedication - will serve you well no matter what type of work you eventually do. Leslie often reminds parents that some dancers choose to dance, while other dancers need to dance. If dance is your passion and you feel that you must pursue your dance education, keep working to earn your parents' support.
CHECKLIST: Are you ready for a college dance program?
1. I HAVE MY PARENTS' SUPPORT. YES ___ NO ___
2. I AM ON GOOD TERMS WITH MY BODY. YES ___ NO ___
3. I AM HEALTHY AND INJURY-FREE. YES ___ NO ___
4. I LIKE NEW TEACHERS AND NEW STYLES. YES ___ NO ___
5. I WANT TO LEARN THINGS OTHER THAN PERFORMANCE. YES ___ NO ___
6. I AM ORGANIZED AND FOCUSED. YES ___ NO ___
7. I AM WILLING TO MAKE SACRIFICES FOR MY ART. YES ___ NO ___
8. I KNOW MY STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES. YES ___ NO ___
9. I'VE EXPLORED FIELDS OTHER THAN DANCE. YES ___ NO ___
The more ‘yes’ answers you have, the better your chances are of getting what you want from a college dance program.
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