5 Reasons Why I’m Choosing a Degree in Dance
If you’re seriously thinking about a career in the arts, whether that be dance, music, theatre or musical theatre, the college route should be on your radar.
Going straight into the professional field right out of high school could feel like the next best step, but so much is to be learned from a college education in the arts.
Here are my top reasons for attending a conservatory (university) instead of heading straight into the career field:
1. I needed more time.
When I started seriously training to become a professional dancer, I saw other people who had never gone to college and were still successful.
From all the stories I heard about their experiences, I felt the unspoken pressure to be industry-ready by the time I graduated high school.
And since a dancing career is short, that would be another way to get into the industry sooner.
But by the time senior year rolled around, I felt like I needed more time to train, mature and learn.
Plus, jumping right into a career seemed too daunting. I was hardly ready to leave home yet.
2. There were other forms of dance I wanted to study other than ballet.
It’s important to me to nurture interests other than dance.
At my fine arts high school, I studied ballet, pointe and modern dance.
In college, I continue strengthening my technique in those disciplines, but have also gained experience in partnering, music theory, stage production, dance history, somatics, choreography and social dance culture classes.
All of that makes me feel more well-rounded. The more I learn and educate myself about dance, the better I feel to execute dance and later, educate future generations.
3. I want to teach in higher education as a dance professor.
One of my career goals is to become a full-time faculty member at an accredited university dance department, and the job requires at least a Master of Fine Arts degree.
Having an undergraduate degree in dance pre-qualifies me to become eligible for master’s level courses. I’ve also chosen to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) rather than a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) because there is more emphasis on performing. So I’ve been able to focus on training, dance production and making connections too.
4. I want to make professional connections.
Networking in all professions is extremely important, but since the dance world is small, sometimes landing the job means knowing the right people.
A top-rated conservatory has faculty that are well-established industry professionals and pioneers who can offer career, training or niche advice. Peer mentors are also there to inspire me and are the next generation of dancers and choreographers.
Speaking of choreographers, Point Park University, where I attend, produces six shows a year that feature faculty or notable guest choreographers. Having the opportunity to audition for, learn from, make connections with, and be inspired by the choreographers and teachers is such an honor, and has the potential to springboard a career.
5. I love school.
I really cannot imagine what life will feel like after graduation, even though this gap year has given me a little insight.
This was also the feeling I had before I graduated from high school.
School is not only familiar but, in a way, has facilitated all of the positive major life changes that have happened to me.
I’ve met some of my life-long friends at school and been able to learn and experience so many amazing adventures. The skills I have gained from school and dance include collaboration, time management, organization, mentorship, leadership, conflict management, self-care and work-life balance.
All of which I want to build upon and reach a certain level of mastery by continuing my education.
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
Eleanor Roosevelt had it right.
We’re all students of life, and I have had the privilege and coveted opportunity to go to college and be surrounded by others who are passionate about dance.
I hope by sharing my experience I have offered some insight into why I chose to go to college and earn a dance degree, rather than go straight into the professional dance industry.
That is not saying college is not a part of the professional dance industry, but it is a way to gain pre-professional experience to springboard a successful career in the arts.
More Articles By Niche
Why I Chose My HBCUs: Bennett College and North Carolina A&T State University
Aariella K. Houston attends not one but two HBCUs. She talks about why she avoided PWIs and opted for HBCUs, which offered her more support and a chance to earn a dual degree.
Why I Chose My HBCU: Tuskegee University
Having come from a majority-white high school, Grace Jackson wanted a college where she could immerse herself in a legacy of Black excellence. She found Tuskegee University.
11 Talks About Money to Have With Your College-Bound Kid
Parents, it’s time for you and your college-bound kid to have the talk—about how money matters, including how to pay for college.