Too late? (to succeed professionally in the dance world)

by Anonymous
(No location given)

I am a 20 year old college student in Chicago. After reevaluating my decision to go to college, I have realized that dancing is what I really love to do. I have a long history of training in classical ballet and jazz, but am turning 21 soon and am afraid of being too old to succeed professionally in the dance world. Is it too late?

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Mar 09, 2011
Answer from Maria
by: Maria

Hi,

I understand your concern and I guess you think that dancers need to have extremely acrobatic skills to succeed professionally.

For some types of dance (like ballet or competitive modalities) this may apply. Though, there are many forms of dance in which sophisticated physical skills are not so important (many styles of contemporary dance included).

Now, remember that a dance professional has various fields to exert her/his knowledge. You can be a choreographer, a teacher, a researcher, a producer, a dancer...

Almost all those types of professionals have been dancers once and if that role didn't give them the best opportunities, they would continue to work for dance in alternative ways.

If the only thing you wished was to be the first prima ballerina of the American Ballet Theater, then I'd tell you: yes dear, it is late for you. But dance is nowadays a wide artistic field, through which you can search your own place. This includes the possibility of being a professional dancer (even more if you tell me that you do have a long story within ballet and jazz).

If earning money is your worry, I'll tell you, as everybody would, that it might be more difficult to be rich dedicating yourself to art than to the financial business....

But, imagine yourself counting numbers, sitting at an office or bidding at your local stock market... How does that feel? Is that what you want for yourself? And do you think that every person that follows those 'less risky' professions does succeed?

Consider success as something circumstantial. It depends on you but also on the context in which you live.

Measure your expectations and overall personal possibilities and compare them with the working potential you see at your reach (how many dance companies and of what type of dance, institutions, public and private schools, theaters...). You need to do a real, good research for this, because your family support and local dance context might determine your possibilities even more than your physical skills or conditions.

This is a delicate matter. Please, read my answer with care, as you have a big, maybe lifetime decision to make.

I was once exactly at the point you are now, and I chose dance. Work has been hard, but a lot of gratification has accompanied it. Still, after many years of my lifetime decision, I?m glad I made it (and I live in a far more difficult cultural and economical context than you).

If dance gives sense to your life and you feel passion about it, it would be a big shame that you loose that gift. Do you know how many people are there that don?t know what they would prefer to do with their lives?

Finding and following a vocation is a real way to search for spiritual freedom and realization of your self.

Freedom has a price, but it is not impossible to pay.

Still, no matter what you decide, you will learn, understand and grow.

We will receive you with open arms, if it is our magical world you choose.

Kindly,

Maria

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