||   Home   |   What We Do   |   How We Help   |   Articles   |   Useful Links   |   Presentations   |   About Us   ||


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.

Open A Mom & Dad Dialogue

  • SHARE YOUR CONCERNS - PHYSICALLY, EMOTIONALLY, SOCIALLY, FINANCIALLY. Let your parents know that you are realistic about the difficulties you will have to overcome.

  • DISCUSS HOW YOU ARRIVED AT YOUR DECISION. Explain why you are interested in a particular program and how it will prepare you to do things which are important to you.

  • SHARE YOUR CAREER PLANS WITH YOUR PARENTS. Although your career goals might change once you begin college, let your parents know that you have a plan.

  • DOCUMENT THE INVESTMENT YOU HAVE MADE SO FAR. Remind your parents of the dedication you have already shown to dance. Let them share in your satisfaction and joy.
  • As you investigate different schools, you can begin to assure your parents that you will have the opportunity to gain employable skills. Explore different types of dance programs with them. Discuss what you will learn in addition to technical and artistic skills, such as oral and written communication, problem solving and analytical thinking. Determine what opportunities you will have to intern with a professional company, teach in a local school or gain administrative experience in a work study job. Learning business skills like fundraising, grant writing, public relations, marketing and management will give you a foot in the door to dance-related work if a performance career doesn't materialize when you graduate. These are also transferable skills, which will be valuable in other fields.

    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 ___
    Of course it's possible to do it without their support, but why make it harder than it needs to be? The process of earning their support can help you explore your motivation and commitment.

    2. I AM ON GOOD TERMS WITH MY BODY.     YES ___ NO ___
    You know what your body can do and can respect its limitations.

    3. I AM HEALTHY AND INJURY-FREE.     YES ___ NO ___
    You don't miss more than four or five days of school a year because of illness or fatigue and you've had no serious or recurring injuries which keep you from dance class.

    4. I LIKE NEW TEACHERS AND NEW STYLES.     YES ___ NO ___
    You are (or want to become) proficient in several dance styles. You look forward to teachers who dance or teach differently from the ones you are used to.

    5. I WANT TO LEARN THINGS OTHER THAN PERFORMANCE.     YES ___ NO ___
    You want to develop other skills and interests in addition to dance to be well-rounded.

    6. I AM ORGANIZED AND FOCUSED.     YES ___ NO ___
    You can go from ballet technique to anatomy to English composition without losing your shoes or forgetting your homework.

    7. I AM WILLING TO MAKE SACRIFICES FOR MY ART.     YES ___ NO ___
    You know that you will have more hours of required classes, rehearsals and performances and less time for a job or social activities than friends with academic majors, but it's a fair trade.

    8. I KNOW MY STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES.     YES ___ NO ___
    You've attended master classes and auditions and have learned from the feedback you've gotten.

    9. I'VE EXPLORED FIELDS OTHER THAN DANCE.     YES ___ NO ___
    You've found other things you enjoy, but there is nothing you're more interested in studying than dance.

    The more ‘yes’ answers you have, the better your chances are of getting what you want from a college dance program.



    Contact College Resource Associates at:
    12 Southwood Road
    Worcester, MA 01609
    Ph/Fax:   508-757-8920

    Joan@CollegeResourceAssoc.com


                           


    2009, College Resource Associates. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in whole or part without explicit permission is prohibited.