Never did I think I'd see the day when I'd outgrow dance. Sure, I knew my life would have to evolve. In fact, my dance career had already taken me through seasons of being a performer, a choreographer, a business owner and even a dance professor. Evolution was a given. Evolving past dancing for a living, however, was not.
Transitioning from a dance career involved just as much of a process as building one did. But after I overcame the initial identity crisis, I realized that my dance career had helped me develop strengths that could be put to use in other careers. For instance, my work as a dance professor allowed me to discover my knack for connecting with students and helping them with their careers, skills that ultimately opened the door for a pivot into college career services.
Here's how five dance skills can land you a new job—and help you thrive in it:
Auditioning Sets You Up for Sales
PC Jim Lafferty
From preparing to performing to accepting the win or swallowing the loss, auditioning sharpens skills that could be put to use in sales roles. The competitive edge, strategizing and tough skin dancers develop through auditioning are qualities of successful realtors, marketers and account executives. If the idea of selling doesn't resonate with you, auditioning has also prepared you to be a pro at interviewing.
Turn Branding Into a Full-Time Job
Creating your image has become a vital component of building a successful dance career. A strong brand includes capturing the right pictures and videos as well as growing your visibility in the right circles. Knowing how to position yourself in a market can lend itself well to marketing or public relations roles. Many dancers transition into photography jobs, using the skills they've learned at photoshoots and through curating their own social media brands. Experience building a strong social media presence could also make for a successful social media or content manager.
Choreographing Makes You A Leader
Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, PC Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB
Choreographers do so much more than craft movement. Not only do they use dance to make a statement, but they also oversee dancers, problem-solve and teach. Anyone with extensive choreography experience is well versed in managing time, resources and people. A choreographer's skill at overseeing many moving parts is exactly what's needed to be a successful project manager or event planner. Choreography experience translates well to nearly any role that calls for organization and leadership.
Performing Can Lead to Public Speaking
ODC dancer Josie G. Sadan. Photo by Andrew Weeks
Getting on stage in front of a group of strangers takes courage and confidence. If you're able to present yourself well in front of an audience, you'll be able to do so in a number of settings. Performers know how to think on their feet, multi-task and recover quickly when things don't go as planned. These skills could be a stepping stone to a career that involves public speaking, like media or politics.
Take Your Teaching Skills Outside Dance
Photo by Eduardo Patino, courtesy of The Ailey School
Teaching dance is about more than the dance itself. Dance teachers break down complex steps, support and challenge their students' minds and bodies, and are well-versed in conflict resolution. Your experience as a dance teacher could obviously translate well into other teaching roles, either teaching dance at a higher level or a different subject altogether. Classroom management skills also pair well with corporate training or coaching roles, and supporting students and resolving conflict are useful skills for school or family counselors.