Forecasting the Future

I started thinking about the modern dance class I will be taking this fall, and that inevitably led to me thinking about majoring in dance and trying to be a professional dancer.

As sad as it sounds, I think I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no future for me in professional dance. And here are my reasons why:

1.) The economy.
Even the best dancers don’t make a lot of money compared to other jobs. As superficial as it sounds – I need money. I already can barely afford to go where I’m going to college. I need to be able to get a good job after college so I can pay off my student loans. And the job market for dancers is slim.

2.) The stigma.
I’m just not sure I want to have to deal with fighting off the stigma associated with being a “late starter.” Even in a much more accepting genre of dance like modern, I’m not sure I want to have to fight every day to say “I can do this.” There’s a lot of job instability in dance, and I don’t want to have to worry about auditioning for new companies. Not to mention having to worry about your body and constantly be under scrutiny for your weight and appearance.

3.) Other Interests
While I passionately love dance, I still have other interests. And unfortunately, they conflict. I like international affairs, I want to travel. I want to learn foreign languages. Having a career in dance would conflict with several of these interests. Dance is a sacrifice, but I’m not sure if it’s a sacrifice I’m really willing to make.

4.) Other Limiting Factors
As much as I hate to admit this, I will probably never be as flexible as a professional dancer. I know anything is possible, but I’m just not a naturally flexible person. And in my mind at least, no one wants to hire an inflexible dancer. And don’t forget my obvious lack of technical practice. Again, anything’s possible. I could get my technique strong enough in 4 years, but you’re talking a lot of man hours. Again, it goes back to that sacrifice thing I’m not sure I really want to make. I want to have a life in college, not spend every waking moment in the dance studio trying to improve.

So I know that list was depressing, but it’s just me trying to sift through the facts and realities of being a professional dancer. But don’t think this is me swearing off dancing. Oh no!! Never!! I will continue to dance, as passionately and enthusiastically as I always have. But I’ll do it instead without the pressure of being a professional.

Yes I’ll attend dance performances, and let the professionals do the work for me. I’ll take dance classes in as many genres as I want. Maybe my opinion will change in the future, and I’ll decide all those cons I just listed aren’t reason enough not to go for it. But right now, that’s where I am.

I love dance.
I always will.
It’s just now I’ve decided to enjoy it as an amateur.


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