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What These 9 Stars Would Be Doing If They Weren't Dancers

It can be hard to imagine life without—or just after—dance. Perhaps that's why we find it so fascinating to hear what our favorite dancers think they'd be doing if they weren't performing for a living.

We've been asking stars about the alternate career they'd like to try in our "Spotlight" Q&A series, and their answers—from the unexpected to the predictable—do not disappoint:


Martha Graham Dance Company's PeiJu Chien-Pott: Fashion Designer or Graphic Designer

PeiJu Chien-Pott in a Graham contraction while sitting on the ground, her legs extended up in the air with bent knees. She wears a tan leotard and her black hair is down and flowing behind her.

Yi-Chun Wu

"I enjoy compositing beautiful images and letting my creativity bloom."

The Washington Ballet's Ashley Murphy: Physical Therapist

Murphy as Myrtha in Giselle. She is in arabesque, with the rest of the willis in formation behind her, gesturing towards her with a subtle port de bras.

Theo Kossenas

"My goal is to become a physical therapist so that I can help other dancers feel and dance their very best."

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Jamar Roberts: Graphic Designer or Animator

A photo from a photoshoot of Roberts jumping in the air, his legs crossed and his arms reaching towards the ground. He wears metallic shorts and looks toward his right hand.

Andrew Eccles

"I also enjoy drawing and fashion, and designed the costumes for Members Don't Get Weary."

The Conversation
James Whiteside (Jayme Thornton for Dance Magazine)

Say you're perpetually impeccable designer Thom Browne. Say you're planning your Spring 2020 Paris menswear show along a "Versailles country club" theme. Say you want a world-class danseur to open the show with some kind of appropriately fabulous choreography.

Who do you call? James Whiteside, of course. On Saturday, the American Ballet Theatre principal—wearing pointe shoes and a glorious pinstriped tutu—kicked off Browne's presentation at the École des Beaux-Arts with a 15-minute, show-stealing solo. Whiteside choreographed the piece himself, with the help of detailed notes from the designer.

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Health & Body
Getty Images

I'd been a professional dancer for five years when I realized the pain I'd been feeling in my hip and down my sciatic nerve was not going away. I had been treating it for two years as we dancers do—with regular visits to my masseuse, physical therapy, baths, ice and lots of Aleve—but I never stopped dancing. It finally dawned on me that if I kept going at the speed I was going (which was, well, speedy), the pain would only get more severe and unrelenting, and I might never dance again.

I told myself I'd take two months off, and all would be better.

That first morning when I woke up at 10 am, I had no idea what to do with myself. My life until that moment had been dictated by class and rehearsal, every hour accounted for. How should I fill the huge swath of time ahead of me?

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