3. What are the challenges to those who make a career in Dance?
Rose: I knew that I would likely work more than one job, that I would probably not have benefits included in my employment, and that I would need to be open to being extremely mobile (geographically) for my work. But I think most dance students know that. Most of us have already fought that battle with someone before graduation. Outside of that, I think one challenge is that there is no road map to success and there are few tangible ladder rungs to understanding when you’ve been “promoted” or when you are “successful.”
Silverstein: For a while, my answer to this question was money. Now, I realize that it is deeper than that. People are still mystified by the word “dance” and what dance is. As dancers, the challenge is to be clear about what we are doing - when we write about it, talk about it, advocate for it, and perform it.
4. What is the future of Dance?
Morgan: When I graduated in 2000, the dance world was already shifting. I cannot predict the future of dance, but I do wonder if we are moving back to some of the ideas the postmodern dancers played with in the 1960s. Many major museums now commission choreographers to create work for their gallery spaces. Site-specific dance continues to grow. More choreographers seem to be interested in dancing in smaller places for smaller audiences. Community dance also seems to be growing in popularity. Dance seems to be moving back to a grassroots moment.
Suffoletto: Dance will remain an important art form. I believe that people are becoming increasingly understanding and appreciative of the power of movement and dance.
Rose: That’s the question, isn’t it? Many artists are moving out of traditional dance centers, ie. New York, San Francisco, and creating dance communities in smaller cities or even rural communities. Additionally, particularly in the concert dance arena, non-Western dance forms are being viewed more often and given greater access to funding in the field. This expansion of availability and genre can only be a good thing.
5. What advice to you offer to our newly graduated dance majors?
Rajeendra: To have faith in the process. Whether it is the process of finding a job, working two to three jobs or working part time. All of it contributes and shapes you as a dancer as long as you are aware.
Morgan: Be open. There is rarely a direct path in this field. Seek out opportunities and ask for things. The worse thing anyone can say is no, and it’s rare that someone will hand you an opportunity..
Rose: The best advice I can give to any recent graduate is to start by just doing something…anything. Your first job is probably not going to be your dream job, or probably anything close to it. Or maybe it will be, but you may discover that it’s not what you thought it would be. Whatever it is that you start with doing for a paycheck, don’t forget whatever your biggest dream is.
Suffoletto: The skills and discipline you have learned in the Dance Department can lead you anywhere! They are truly transferrable skills. If you do not end up pursuing dance directly, and you take a different direction, try to keep dance in your life in some way.