After high school, what’s next?

With graduation on the horizon, high school seniors are planning their future. As dancers, it is not so straightforward. Many battle with the idea of pursuing a dance career knowing the competitiveness, lack of stability, and often times low wages not to mention the brevity of the career. There is often parental pressure to go to college and pursue a more traditional career.

If you think you want to dance then you owe it to yourself to find out. No one should look back on their life and see the chances not taken. Dive in, give it your all and find out if the career is for you. If you are honest with yourself, you will know right away. You either love the long hours and the hard work and thrive in the environment, or you won’t.

So how do you find out? You dip your toes in the water. Start by asking some hard questions of yourself. Why do you dance? What kind of dancer do you want to be? Where do you see yourself dancing? Seek the advice of professionals whose experience you respect and find a program that will help launch you toward your goals. This dance life is not for everyone. Many people go from studying dance every evening in high school to all day long in a school or company and find that it isn’t the dream they had in mind. This has nothing at all to do with talent and everything to do with desire. Allow yourself the time and space to discover what you want and why you dance. College programs, professional schools, and trainee and apprentice programs are all good options. You will be challenged and inspired by dancers around you.

Whatever you do, invest in it. Take advantage of every opportunity, allow yourself to work outside of your comfort zone, and take in all the new information. The more you put into anything, the more you will get out of it. You have nothing to lose so why not give it everything you have. If it doesn’t work out then you know and you can live the rest of your life knowing that you gave your all. Leave all the what ifs behind you. There is no one path to success and the possibilities in one’s future are as broad as your creativity. I have seen many versions of training/education lead to success and there are many ways that dance can be a part of one’s life. Pursuing a dream is more than just wishing, you must be realistic and strategic to get yourself there. Trust in the work and make your plan. If it doesn’t work, you can always pivot.

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