You've probably seen articles on how dance prepares you for anything making the rounds in your social-media circles. The discipline, creative thought and communication skills learned in a dance class are coveted in (and often missing from) the broader workforce. And it's a good thing, too, because for even the most talented, it's virtually inevitable that, at some point, dancers will need to support themselves with a side job. So how exactly do the skills acquired in a college dance program transfer to other fields? Four graduates told DT how their degrees prepared them for much more than dancing.


Maggie Bailey, BA, 2014

College of Charleston

Charleston, South Carolina

Currently: MFA student, film and media production, University of Texas at Austin

"Understanding bodies and movement and energy really helps my filming and editing—knowing when to make cuts and giving actors something to do with their bodies," says Bailey. "I work with composers—I have experience doing that from college, talking about music and how to communicate a feeling." Photo by Alex Masi/Swng Productions, courtesy of Bailey

Dance-degree takeaway "Dance is more than just moving your body around," she says. "You learn social skills and team-building skills, and you can market yourself with those. You can say, 'I know how to take and give correction, how to hold a large group of people's attention.' A lot of people don't leave college with those skills."


Ansley Davis, BFA, 2016

University of Southern Mississippi

Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Currently: ensemble member and part-time teacher with the Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble and working in childcare

"Even if I'm not dancing at that moment, everything I did in college is showing through," she says. Photo by Darian Blake Hill, courtesy of Davis

Dance-degree takeaway Time management and organization, thanks to juggling classes, rehearsals and an active social life on campus. "I learned how to make sure all aspects of my life are in order, even when navigating a new transportation system and a new city," she says. "And when I'm nannying, I'm making sure all aspects of [her charge's] life are on track, in coordination with what her parents want for her."


Jessica Stroh, BFA, 2015

University of South Florida

Tampa, Florida

Currently: dancing part-time in New York City with modern company BodyStories: Teresa Fellion Dance, plus managing an ever-changing rotation of freelance jobs

"You have to basically be a director," says Stroh of managing a complex NYC dance career. "You have to make choices and find a balance between what works for you creatively and what works for you financially." Photo by Stephen Delas Heras, courtesy of Stroh

Dance-degree takeaway "Keep up relationships with people you knew in college," says Stroh. "Reach out to professors and people who are doing things you might be interested in. You never know what one opportunity may lead to."


Helen Phelan, BFA and BA, 2013

Elon University

Elon, North Carolina

Currently: full-time Pilates instructor in Brooklyn, New York, while planning to earn certification in integrative nutrition later this year, to launch her own wellness company in the future

"One day I realized that it wasn't just a day job—I really enjoy teaching," says Phelan. "I realized I was much more a fitness instructor than a dancer, and I felt OK with that." Photo by Hayley Hill, courtesy of Phelan

Dance-degree takeaway "Every class I took for the dance major has influenced my Pilates teaching," she says. "Even the less obvious things—narrative story lines help you become empathetic; pedagogy teaches you to be patient and compassionate when commanding a room; improv teaches creative problem-solving."

The Conversation
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Photo by spinkickpictures.com, courtesy of Mitchell

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Photo by Andy Mogg, courtesy of Marin Ballet

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Students in Pulinkala's Cocoon. Photo by Robert Pack, courtesy of Kennesaw State

When Ivan Pulinkala was preparing for his interview at Kennesaw State University to create the school's first dance program, he figured the whole thing would be a lark, at best. After all, the New Delhi–born choreographer had just gotten his green card, which meant he could teach anywhere, and Kennesaw, Georgia (a half-hour outside of Atlanta), wasn't his first choice as a location. But after doing a scan of collegiate dance in Georgia, he began to change his mind. "I thought, 'Wow, if someone starts a big dance program at a public institution, the market's wide open,'" says Pulinkala. "There were some good programs, like Emory University, but they were niche—private and expensive."

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When your students graduate and move to the big city to pursue their dreams, they'll almost immediately discover that there's a void left where your studio once was. Not only will they miss your instruction and daily support, but they'll miss having a physical space to work through challenging movement, polish their technique and improv with no one watching. Help them with their adjustment period by telling them about the studio spaces they can rent out when they need some one-on-one time with the mirror and the music.

Here are five for you to share with them—you're welcome!

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Gabriel Figueredo in a variation from Raymonda. VAM Productions, Courtesy YAGP.

This week, more than 1,000 young hopefuls gathered in New York City for the Youth America Grand Prix finals, giving them the chance to compete for scholarships and contracts to some of the world's top ballet schools and companies. Roughly 85 dancers made it to the final round at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater on Wednesday. Today, the 20th anniversary of YAGP came to a close at the competition's awards ceremony. Read on to find out who won!

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Photos by Kyle Froman

A few years ago, Mary Ann Lamb got a phone call from Ann Reinking, who was choreographing a production of The Visit starring Chita Rivera. Lamb was thrilled when Reinking offered her the role of Young Claire without even asking for an audition. "And then she said, 'In the first act, you're going to play Chita Rivera when she's a 17-year-old virgin,'" Lamb says, "and I'm like, 'What am I gonna do? I'm like 50 years old!' I started panicking. My dream was to be in the room with Ann Reinking and Chita Rivera, but I was scared to death I was going to make a fool of myself."

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Q: A student of mine recently got a bad sprained ankle, and it's been weak ever since she returned to class. Are there any exercises you suggest to strengthen it?

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"WOD" is back for Season 3, and once again, the internet is loving it! How much do they love it, you ask? Well they've watched many of the dances millions of times, so it's safe to say—A WHOLE LOT! We did some research and discovered which dances have been watched the most since Season 3's premiere, and the results may surprise you.

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Q: As a dance teacher, which products do you prefer, Apple or Google?

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The one thing that can unite all of us on April 15 is the fact that everyone hates doing their taxes. Though they are necessary, they are exhausting and time-consuming, and just plain no fun for anyone!

To help you cope, we've captured what doing taxes feels like through a series of dancer memes.

YOU'RE WELCOME!

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