Transitioning Careers After Dance
Dancing is not something you do forever. I dread the day that I will say goodbye to dance as a career, but also anticipate it–like an uncomfortable lunch date you want to get out of the way. I tell friends and family about “the transition” in an effort to remind myself that the end is near.
It’s a safety net I’ve carefully woven. Not for when I decide to transition away from dance, but for when dance decides to transition away from me.
I’ve danced and performed for thousands of people by now–on cruise ships, at theme parks, at hotels, in small regional theaters. I know how to be a dancer.
- I know how to dress for an audition
- I know how to negotiate a contract.
- I know the people of entertainment as my coworkers.
- I know my office to be stage.
Being an expert at something brings me great joy. I fear the wealth of things I do not know, so leaving my realm of comfort is terrifying.
So what do you do when your dance career is coming to a close? Below are a few steps to help make the transition more graceful.
Sit down and ask yourself what inspires you. The answer may obviously be dance, but think about what brought you to dance and why? Is there another creative outlet that may piggy-back off your passion for dance?
Alternative careers for dancers:
- Write about dance (see: this blog)
- Mix music for dancers
- Draw and Sketch dancers. Make Art!
- Photograph dancers
- Manage dancers (start a company)
- Teach dancers
Make a Plan
Create a 1, 3, and 5 year plan. Be as specific as possible when you can. Research whether you need to go back to school. Study other people who have done something similar. Go to all ends to discover this new path for yourself. Create goals and a realistic timeline.
Think Long Term
All of my career has been lived contract to contract. I never knew where I would be beyond 6 months. When you transition out of the fast-paced Entertainment world, it’s time to flip the switch on your mentality. Changing careers requires planning and a long-term goal, unlike dance gigs which are all about being able to drop what you’re doing at a moments notice to fly to Tokyo.
Take Small Steps
Goals are achieved by taking thousands of small steps, a few each day that add up over time. Don’t get discouraged. Record your little wins.
Don’t Be Afraid of Big Steps
Before you know it, you may have taken so many small, daily steps that you find yourself facing a major decision. Don’t be afraid! Change is good and it is what you are working for! Take the leap (pun intended). You’ll be even more empowered and motivated to reach your goal when you start to see how far you’ve come.
Don’t forget to feed your soul with inspiration and motivation. Follow your idols on Instagram. Search your career on Pinterest. Keep your motivation up as you make the difficult move to a new career. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s easy. Starting something new is never easy.
Any dancers out there making the switch? Comment below and connect with dancers starting a second career.