Majoring in Dance in College – Dance Matters

Written by | B-Roll

Readers write in about the chances of becoming a professional dancer, handling weight, and picking the right road show to tour with as a dancer.

I just spent the last few weeks auditioning for several road shows. A few offers have come in. How do I know which one to take? – Christy R., Raleigh, NC

Read your contract very carefully, and then read it again. THEN have a friend read it, preferably one in the business. Write down your questions and get final answers in writing. Make a pros and cons list with each offer. Wording in contracts can be tricky. Do your best to be thorough so you can make the most informed decision.

 

I’ve been a serious ballet student at a prestigious school since I was 10 years old. I’m 17, an advanced student, and I feel like ballet is all I know. However, I want to see what’s outside the studio and its mirror. Is this wrong? – Ann C., San Francisco, Ca.

Sounds like perhaps it’s time to take a step back and take a break to look at WHY you dance. If it’s not for the fulfillment of your deepest self, then I will tell you that stepping away will give you a new perspective on your dancing. You may decide to go back to it after a time, and you may find other artistic avenues to explore. Try not to be hard on yourself; perhaps there’s another calling for you and this is why you’re feeling a tug away. Be patient. Keep stretching!

I am a dancer with weight issues. I had reached my goal of losing 15 pounds and now I’ve gained it plus some for no apparent reason. What should I do? – Mary T. NY, NY

If you haven’t done so, get a complete physical through a doctor who specializes in sports medicine/nutrition. There are many factors to consider with athletes including metabolic changes, food reactions, and stress. Before your appointment, I would suggest writing down your intakes and workout schedule for a week. There are great advancements in nutrition and supplements. Good luck to you!

 

My son has chosen to major in dance in college. Given the competitive atmosphere and the current economy, what are his chances of becoming a professional dancer? – Alicia H. Pocatello, Id.

While there are many avenues in dance, if your son REALLY wants to dance, he’ll do whatever it takes to make it happen. Having a college degree in dance is becoming more and more vital in teaching artist positions, a natural follow to a dancer’s career. Colleges and universities hardly ever hire a teacher (in dance) without a Bachelor of Arts degree. Many professional companies embrace a higher educated dancer. Many professional dancers these days are also pursuing degrees online with the help of their employers. I would encourage him to go to college, even some college credits are better than none!

I have weak ankles. What can I do to strengthen them? – Benjamin G., Moscow, Id.

In class: execute extra rises and 32 extra ‘tendu’s’ to the side with each leg facing the barre. A theraband is very useful for foot exercises. Rises on line at the store, rises on the stairs. Be aware not to strain the ankles, be patient, methodical, and persistent.

 

Photo by TJ Seren

Mhari Wilson is a member of a famous dancing family. The daughter of original Joffrey Ballet founding members Brunilda Ruiz and John W. Wilson and step-daughter to Paul Sutherland, she had the good fortune to grow up, tour and study with both the Robert Joffrey and Rebekah Harkness Ballet Companies. A professional dancer at 13, she also worked in eastern regional companies, as well as working as Gerald Arpino’s  demonstration model for the City Center Joffrey Ballet in New York City and for Paul Sutherland at Ramapo College in New Jersey. A 2x nominee for the Idaho Governors Arts Award, a Boise Channel 7’s Hero, founding member of the Aspen Dance Connection and Boise’s Alley Repertory Theater; Ms. Wilson has been a teaching artist in Dance for over 40 years. She currently teaches at Eagle Performing Arts Center and for Very Special Arts/Idaho, specializing in classical ballet and developmental dance respectively. She is the author of the ‘Ballet-On-the-Go’ ballet glossary and reference guide as well as a dance-themed children’s book to be published in 2018.

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Last modified: August 13, 2017

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