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Retiring From the Stage and Looking for a Second Career? You Have Lots of Options.

I want to help dancers when I retire from performing. Can you tell me what jobs might work?

—Julian, Washington, DC



Dancers often excel at a variety of careers because of their amazing work ethic. Many go on to become physical therapists, doctors, social workers, Pilates instructors, acupuncturists or massage therapists. Obviously, each vocation has different academic requirements, with some taking longer than others. For me, it took eight years of school followed by two years of a supervised internship and a job in a hospital before I took a licensing exam in psychology. Time flies when you're passionate about your work, and I was able to continue performing while I attended school full-time. I found joy in staying in the arts while wearing a different hat. Retiring from the stage doesn't mean you've left your home.

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TaraMarie Perri in tree pose at Storm King Art Center. Photo by Sophie Kuller, Courtesy Perri

5 Self-Soothing Exercises You Can Do to Calm Your Anxiety

Physical stillness can be one of the hardest things to master in dance. But stillness in the bigger sense—like when your career and life are on hold—goes against every dancers' natural instincts.

"Dancers are less comfortable with stillness and change than most," says TaraMarie Perri, founder and director of Perri Institute for Mind and Body and Mind Body Dancer. "Through daily discipline, we are trained to move through space and are attracted to forward momentum. Simply put, dancers are far more comfortable when they have a sense of control over the movements and when life is 'in action.' "

To regain that sense of control, and soothe some of the anxiety most of us are feeling right now, it helps to do what we know best: Get back into our bodies. Certain movements and shapes can help ground us, calm our nervous system and bring us into the present.

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