In Defense of the Dance Major

Florida State University students studying abroad as part of the dance department's partnership with the Académie Américaine de Danse de Paris.

If you chose to pursue a degree in dance, chances are you’ve heard some version of “But what will you do with a degree like that?” In fact, you’ve probably heard every version of that question, ranging from innocent inquisitiveness (“But why do you need a degree in dance?”) to the downright ridiculous and borderline offensive (“Seems like a waste of time and money to me”).

Two days ago, dancer and educator Shannon Dooling tackled this very topic on her blog—and the post is beginning to go viral among dancers. Dooling teaches dance in Maryland and the Washington, DC, area, and she also co-directs her own dance company, New Street Dance Group. After coming across two reports by NPR’s "Planet Money" team (“What’s Your Major” and “Why Women [Like Me] Choose Lower-Paying Jobs”), Dooling had a few thoughts about why people like dancers choose majors and ultimately professions despite possible financial insecurity.

Dooling also creates a list of reasons why you should major in dance. And she’s got some good ones! Work ethic, learning to deal with frustration and developing 21st-century skills all make the cut.

Each month, DT publishes the Higher Ed column, which dissects different college dance programs and aspects of dance degrees and why they might be good options for your dance students.

What’s on your list? Why do you think getting a dance degree is worthwhile?

Photo by Audrey Murray, courtesy of Florida State University

Teaching Tips
Justin Boccitto teaches a hybrid class. Photo courtesy Boccitto

Just as teachers were getting comfortable with teaching virtual classes, many studios are adding an extra challenge into the mix: in-person students learning alongside virtual students. Such hybrid classes are meant to keep class sizes down and to give students options to take class however they're comfortable.

But dividing your attention between virtual students and masked and socially distant in-person students—and giving them each a class that meets their needs—is no easy feat.

Dance Teacher asked four teachers what they've learned so far.

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers Trending
All photos by Ryan Heffington

"Annnnnnnd—we're back!"

Ryan Heffington is kneeling in front of his iPhone, looking directly into the camera, smiling behind his bushy mustache. He's in his house in the desert near Joshua Tree, California, phone propped on the floor so it stays steady, his bright shorty shorts, tank top and multiple necklaces in full view. Music is already playing—imagine you're at a club—and soon he's swaying and bouncing from side to side, the beat infusing his bones.

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers Trending
Evelyn Cisneros-Legate. Photo by Beau Pearson, Courtesy Ballet West

Evelyn Cisneros-Legate is bringing her hard-earned expertise to Ballet West. The former San Francisco Ballet star is taking over all four campuses of The Frederick Quinney Lawson Ballet West Academy as the school's new director.

Cisneros-Legate, whose mother put her in ballet classes in an attempt to help her overcome her shyness, trained at the San Francisco Ballet School and School of American Ballet before joining San Francisco Ballet as a full company member in 1977. She danced with the company for 23 years, breaking barriers as the first Mexican American to become a principal dancer in the U.S., and has graced the cover of Dance Magazine no fewer than three times.

As an educator, Cisneros-Legate has served as ballet coordinator at San Francisco Ballet, principal of Boston Ballet School's North Shore Studio and artistic director of after-school programming at the National Dance Institute (NDI). Dance Teacher spoke with her about her new position, her plans for the academy and leading in the time of COVID-19.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.