I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to go to one of the Career Transition for Dancers workshops here in San Diego last weekend. I thought it would be nice for me to share my thoughts and opinions of the ideas that they introduced for those of you who do not have the luxury of living in a city that their workshop visits.
There were about 25 dancers in the room of all kinds; Flamenco, Ballet, Hip-Hop, Ballroom, and even Vegas show dancers. Everyone was brought together in hopes of finding answers or getting suggestions as to what their next chosen career path should be.
Out of the 3 hour long meeting, which felt a bit like “Alcoholics Anonymous,” there were a few great things that happened. 1.) They talked to us about finding affordable Health Insurance 2.) They gave everyone a list of things that Dancers are good at naturally, other than dancing 3.) They helped everyone identify skills that they are most interested in learning.
Unfortunately, there were also some negative aspects to the workshop as one would expect. First off, one of the main presenters was never even a Dancer! The other main focus was Grants and Financial Aid. While this is a wonderful thing to offer to Dancers who qualify, (qualification consists of being a paid dancer for 7 years, having made at least $56k, and 100 weeks or more of paid employment as a dancer) what about those dancers out there who never had the luxury of being paid appropriately? Even more discouraging was when I learned that Dancers who qualified for the Grant would only recieve $2000!
It seemed that if anyone had questions, they were given a “technical support” number to call to speak with a Woman whom i will leave nameless. Most of us were in that meeting because we wanted to talk to a human being in person and address our concerns at that time, not over the phone. I think something valuable for them to add to their website would be a Forum where dancers can interact with eachother and talk about their experiences in transitioning from dance.
Luckily this Workshop was free…I felt sorry for some of the young dancers who were in the room that were looking for answers. Bottom line, if you were looking to be found you probably left this meeting even more lost. The good thing, having found a group of people just as lost as you!
If you are looking for someone to talk to and consult about your career transition out of Dancing this is a wonderful organization. They offer FREE unlimited phone consultations! Don’t take my word for it, find out for yourself!
Give Career Transition a call; (212)764-0172 or Visit them on the web, http://www.careertransition.org.
It’s all you hear about in the news, and it has effected the Dance Community.
It is hard to stay optimistic when you hear about companies such as New York City Ballet cutting as many as 11 dancers from their rosters. If NYCB, a company who I would consider top notch, is having financial issues, imagine how the small regional Dance Companies are struggling. (link to article)
Sarcamento Ballet cancelled the rest of it’s season. (link to article)
Even worse yet, no companies are hiring for the 2009-2010 season discouraging potential professional dancers from persuing their talents.
What do you do when this happens to you? How do you survive when you are laid off and have no place to dance? I have experienced this first hand as the company that I dance for had to cancel it’s February show of Coppelia due to lack of ticket sales. Instead of complaining about something I couldn’t control, I decided that I needed to do what was in my best interest.
You can look at these periods of layoff as blessings in disguise. Come on, you know you can’t dance forever, so this is the perfect opportunity to discover your other talents. Take this time off to enroll in a college class, pass on your knowledge by teaching dance, or think about heading off to a new company.
I have taken this wonderful opportunity to continue to develop my Personal Training business. Over the two months that I have been laid off from ballet, I have been able to sign on 10 new clients, create videos, and work on my marketing campaigns.
Be proactive. Don’t let these hard economic times get you down! Develop your other interests and begin paving a path to your career transition after dance.
-Nikol Klein, ISSA CPT/SPN and Professional Ballet Dancer
Learn More at www.nikolklein.com