Everyone knows that community college is an affordable option if a four-year school isn't in the cards. But it can also be a solid foundation for a career in the dance field. Whether students want an associate in arts degree as a precursor to obtaining a bachelor's, or to go straight into the performing world, the right two-year dance program can be a uniquely supportive place to train. Don't let negative stereotypes prevent you from attending a program that could be right for you:
1. A community college education is subpar.
"There's this idea that the students aren't getting as good of an education, and it's really the opposite," says Florida School of the Arts dance professor Mary Love Ward. "They're getting so much one-on-one attention. The education is so much more focused."
2. It's easy to get stuck at community colleges.
The dance program at FSA aims to place every graduating student into either a four-year college program or a professional gig. So far, they've had 100 percent success. Lynda Fitzgerald, performing arts–dance coordinator at Anne Arundel Community College, has had students go on to everything from "So You Think You Can Dance" to choreographing for Disney to BFA programs at schools like George Mason University and Temple University.
3. Community colleges don't have the resources that four-year schools do.
Though this may be true to some extent, many programs have ample funds to devote to their dance students. Ward points out that FSA will have newly renovated studios this fall, and offers opportunities to work with guest choreographers and multiple performances and trips each year.
4. Community college classes aren't challenging.
"There were professional dancers in my classes, and that's what helped me grow so quickly," says Rashad Ferguson, a double major in dance and theater at AACC. Julia Rubio, dance major at University of Houston and recent alum of Houston Community College, adds, "People at my university were surprised I knew as much as I did, coming from a community college."