Advice for Dancers

Is It Time to Cut Ties with My Coach and Go Pro?

My dance coach wants my word that I'll keep competing under his school's name for the next year and not audition. I'm 18 years old and already doing lead roles and winning medals. I love his teaching, but shouldn't I be ready to go out and get a job?

—Gil, Las Vegas, NV

You certainly sound as though you're ready to audition. Unfortunately, it's difficult to tell if your coach is pressuring you to stay because you need more time to mature as a performer, or to use your medals to attract students to his school.

The choice is ultimately yours to make: You can give in to your coach's demands and enjoy his teaching for 12 more months. Or, if you feel prepared for auditions, you can speak to him about your decision to pursue your career. Remember that your goal is to perform professionally. If you do find work, let him know that you'll be forever grateful for his tutelage. Most coaches will be happy to acknowledge one of their success stories.

Send your questions to Dr. Linda Hamilton at

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