Career Advice

The Unexpected Side Effects of Losing Your Dance Gig

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Getting fired isn't pretty, but it happens. And no matter the reason, there are ways to rebuild your dance career. But don't be caught off guard by these potential repercussions from losing your job:


Being the elephant in the room.

Erik Tomasson

You may need to show up to work for a period of time after learning that you won't be back next season. "I still had to rehearse with the same people, who had all heard what happened," says Ballet San Antonio's Kathleen Martin, who was previously let go from Ballet West. "It was difficult to be professional, but it helped motivate me to move on."

Cash-flow issues.

Jim Lafferty

"I spent all my money to fly all over the country and audition," says Martin. "At one point I had to take a $3 Megabus and arrived just in time to walk right into the studio."

Conflicting emotions.

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You may find it confusing to realize you're happy and sad at the same time. "Your frontal cortex matures to deal with ambiguity," explains Patch Schwadron, senior career counselor with Career Transition for Dancers. "You may be in pain, but you might also feel excited to have some time to go to Europe for a few weeks."

In Memoriam
Alicia Alonso with Igor Youskevitch. Sedge Leblang, Courtesy Dance Magazine Archives.

Her Dying Swan was as fragile as her Juliet was rebellious; her Odile, scheming, her Swanilda, insouciant. Her Belle was joyous, and her Carmen, both brooding and full-blooded. But there was one role in particular that prompted dance critic Arnold Haskell to ask, "How do you interpret Giselle when you are Giselle?"

At eight, Alicia Alonso took her first ballet class on a stage in her native Cuba, wearing street clothes. Fifteen years later, put in for an ailing Alicia Markova in a performance of Giselle at New York's Metropolitan Opera House, she staked her claim to that title role.

Alonso received recognition throughout the world for her flawless technique and her ability to become one with the characters she danced, even after she became nearly blind. After a career in New York, she and her then husband Fernando Alonso established the Cuban National Ballet and the Cuban National Ballet School, both of which grew into major international dance powerhouses and beloved institutions in their home country. On October 17, the company announced that, after leading the company for a remarkable 71 years, Alonso died from cardiovascular disease at the age of 98.

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News
Rauf "RubberlLegz" Yasit and Parvaneh Scharafali. Photo by Mohamed Sadek, courtesy The Shed

William Forsythe is bringing his multi-faceted genius to New York City in stripped down form. His "Quiet Evening of Dance," a mix of new and recycled work now at The Shed until October 25, is co-commissioned with Sadler's Wells in London (and a slew of European presenters).

As always, Forsythe's choreography is a layered experience, both kinetic and intellectual. This North American premiere prompted many thoughts, which I whittled down to seven.

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News
Courtesy NBC

"Law & Order: SVU" has dominated the crime show genre for 21 seasons with its famous "ripped from the headlines" strategy of taking plot inspiration from real-life crimes.

So viewers would be forgiven for assuming that the new storyline following the son of Mariska Hargitay's character into dance class originated in the news cycle. After all, the mainstream media widely covered the reaction to Lara Spencer's faux pas on "Good Morning America" in August, when she made fun of Prince George for taking ballet class.

But it turns out, the storyline was actually the idea of the 9-year-old actor, Ryan Buggle, who plays Hargitay's son. And he came up with it before Spencer ever giggled at the word ballet.

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Breaking Stereotypes
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As a dietitian specializing in dance nutrition, the most common DM flooding my inbox is "How can I drop pounds (specifically from body fat) and gain muscle?"

The short answer? Not happening.

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