July 07, 2011,
L.A. asks from Lewisville, TX on August 25, 2010
I think it's funny that I'm on a mom's site asking so many career questions, but it's probably b/c you can all relate to having a family life. :) But here I go again. i fell in love with dance in 9th grade & even though i started late, i knew i could be a dance teacher. i wasn't really concerned about the money. but a year after i graduated high school, i was pregnant & obviously it changed my life. it's been hard (with money more than anything else,) but i wouldn't change it. the thing is, i do think about money more, but also want to be there for my daughter. so i search & search & search for different careers, decide on something, & a few months later, something comes up to where i can't go to school, & i change my mind on whatever career i decided on. 6 months or so later, it's the same process. i can never settle on something that i'm totally convinced i can do or will like. partly, i'm scared. my self esteem gets in the way, & i think of all the negative experiences of work. ok, back to dance. i love it! love it! it's always in the back of my mind that it didn't happen. can i make it happen? & i tell myself no, it's not realistic. artsy careers are tough. but the thing is, it's the only career that i feel i have the determination to go through with, even though it will be hard.
i don't know. i feel i will struggle with the choreography, but then i think if i actually took classes about it, i would do better with it.
it's very frustrating.
what i'm asking is, should i do it or should i make myself move on?
also, like what about jobs with directing, etc. i'm guessing those wouldn't be very family friendly, but just curious.
or jobs that you found enjoyable even though you liked dance or artsy careers.
any advice from dance teachers (& anybody of course) would be great.
help! & thank you
p.s i do have a boyfriend who i live with & supports me. we've been together for about 7 years.
and i am more realistic about money than i was in high school (obviously,) but still will be fine with making a little less if its something i'm passionate about.
C.C. answers from Fresno on August 25, 2010
I think it's certainly a good goal to try and do something you really love as a career. However, you should also realize that even if you're doing something you love, some days it will still suck. That's why they call it work.
Realistically, most people who are dance teachers are people who have been dancing all their lives - 20+ years in most cases. At my daughter's studio, the girls who are on the "professional" track take several classes a day, 6 days a week, and they've been doing that for years. Then they spend their summers at dance companies around the country gaining experience. It's a very tough field, and not family friendly. The wear and tear on dancers' bodies is incredible.
However, that doesn't mean you can't dance and enjoy yourself. You could also work in a dance studio as an office manager, stage hand, or numerous other non-teaching jobs. If you did this, you could also have reduced-price or free lessons, which would get you further toward your goal. If you love dance, there are a lot of ways to be involved in the field even if you didn't grow up dancing! You could also consider working with young children in the field of dance (at places like Gymboree or The Little Gym). That's a good way to get experience, since they always make newer teachers at ballet studios work with the youngest children. =)
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M.P. answers from Portland on August 26, 2010
Have you actually explored what it would take to become a dance instructor or where you would work once you had the credentials? Until you do that you won't know if becoming an instructor is even a possibility.
I suggest that you take a class at your community college that explores various careers. One of the things that you will do is take tests that will help direct you towards careers that fit with your personality, experience, and abilities. I can't think of the name for the tests right now.
It sounds like the careers you've been considering require training. Where will you get the money for expenses? In another post you said you didn't want to work in food service or sales. Most of us without money worked in mundane jobs to earn the money to go to school. I have a degree in Home Economics and did teach school for awhile but I didn't start out teaching school. I worked for several years before I was able to start college and worked while going to college.
If you're receiving state assistance, you may be able to get assistance with training and child care while in training. Have you looked into that possibility? My daughter used state assistance as well as grants and loans to get training as a medical assistant. She worked in that field for awhile but now works in a different field.
I suggest that you talk with your State Assistance office and find out what help is available thru them. Also check into the community college program. Then choose something in which to get started. You can always change your mind later. Many fields have similar requirements for beginning courses. Don't decide on a career. Get started! Stop stalling.
Yes, you will need determination and it will be hard work. Expect to struggle. As long as you want to succeed you will. If you continue to search for something that you know you will like you'll never choose anything. It sounds like you haven't found out anything about any of your choices. And you haven't considered starting at the beginning and working to the end to achieve something, anything.
If you want to be a dance instructor, research what it will take for you to be one. Go to dance studios and talk with dance instructors. Find out what it takes to become a dance instructor. Perhaps take the much shorter course to become an aerobics or jazzercise or pilates instructor and work for awhile so that you'll have experience and money.
You may be able to find a job in a dance studio so that you can see first hand what being a dance instructor entails. Stop just thinking about it and do something! It's normal to be fearful and uncertain. I was scared when I first started working. My first job was working in a credit office. I didn't know a thing about credit. I learned on the job, filing, and taking credit applications at the front counter as well as explaining accounts to customers. A really young mother worked as a cashier in the space next to the credit counter. Most of the counter and file clerks, that was me, were just out of high school and very inexperienced. We were mentored by older women who'd worked in that office for years, starting out in the front as we were starting out. It could've been a career for me but I knew when I started that I was working there to save money for college.
I learned a lot about the world and myself while working in that office. Looking back, I'm very glad that I had that experience. It did prepare me for the rest of my life.
I recommend that you just get started! Accept that you're anxious, uncertain and take that first step anyway.
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V.C. answers from Wheeling on August 26, 2010
Hmmmm... It sounds as if you 'argue' with yourself a lot, huh? LOL I'm a Christian (and have been for 40 years), and the way I decide whether or not I should do something goes kind of like this: If I'm trying to talk God into it, I probably already know that I shouldn't do it. If I'm trying to talk God OUT of it, I probably already know I should.
Regarding 'career' (or at least 'job') choices I go by this formula.
1) Feel nervous and excited about it
2) Feel that I could do it
3) Have the time and opportunity to do it, and
4) It won't really hurt anyone if I fail
I GO FOR IT.
Also, I may sound crass, but your (and/or your boyfriend's) lack of commitment to each other in the form of marriage kind of indicates your (and/or his) insecurity in trusting yourself and each other to be successful at 'whatever'. I'd recommend to first commit yourselves to the relationship (permanently), and then the career stability issue will seem much less daunting.
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M.L. answers from Houston on August 26, 2010
Well, I AM a dance teacher / former studio owner / former dancer / former dance major from college / dance MOM.
If you are good, you could get a job now working in a studio. Many of the best dancers / choreographers in the industry have no set "credentials" under their best, just experience. You may have to "audition", by teaching mock classes to some students. You may even try to go in as an assistant, or, a substitute teacher to get your foot in the door. Dance teachers actually make pretty good money, once you get to teach a good number of classes. With good communication and scheduling, you could even teach at more than one studio. That part would be up to you and your boss. There are usually "no-compete" clauses that you have to sign stating that you must teach more than so many miles away from another studio. The good thing about teaching dance also, is that it is usually in the evenings. So, if you wanted to get a part-time gig during the day, a few days a week, you could even do that and still teach dance.
I say try to at least get your associates in dance. The schooling will help you learn how to be more creative with your choreography, and, learn some history about dance that will help you explore options while teaching.
Good luck! :)
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C.S. answers from Las Vegas on August 25, 2010
Hi Lka, Well there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to do something that you enjoy and pursuing your passion. The question is, where will you work as a dancer for in your area? If that is not possible, can you possibly look into being an aerobics or jazzercise instructor/personal trainer in a gym? It would be more routine than choreography.
I live in Vegas and my daughter works for a couple of the shows. She makes the wigs and creates prosthetics and or a dresser. Many of the girls in the shows have families, so it is not impossible.
It was a hard decision for my husband and I to pay for FIDM (Fashion Design school), but we also found it hard to go against our word that said she could do whatever she wanted and we couldn't make that decision for her.
So if you want to be a dancer, find a way!
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R.U. answers from Nashville on August 26, 2010
hi, i don't know how good you are and yes it is a tuff business to get into but, that said , i just turned 50 last week and i am here to tell you you aren't going to get a do over. age has a way of sneaking up on you. if you are really good, you could start out teaching beginners and go from there. i know my 10 year old would be trilled to be tought by anyone. how ever we just can't afford it. in nashville you could start a low cost dance club (school) for the girls and boys that aren't from well to do familys. nashville has plenty of that. i don't know if you need a licsens or any of the business part of it but you could find out through the city. i think you should go for it and if you have your own place no one can keep you from taking you child. you could even teach them dance when they start to walk. anyway good luck. GO FOR IT. time has a way of not being so nice to our bodys. do it now. pray aBOUT IT AND GOD WILL GIVE YOU THE BEST ANWSER FOR YOU AND YOUR LIFE. god bless mom of 7 R.
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D.B. answers from Charlotte on August 26, 2010
Lka, a friend of mine's son attends a private school, and they have a really great set-up for teaching the middle schoolers how to dance. They have dance lessons to teach boys and girls how to dance together, and once a month get togethers (chaperoned) to practice dancing with different partners. Then, when the schools have real dances, the kids not only have the ability to dance, they also want to, and the boys aren't all hugging the wall, with the girls all wishing the boys would ask them.
You might try talking to the head of the PTA at the local middle school about how you might work out doing that. Usually the PTA presidents can work some "magic" to get you a foothold into this - maybe the multipurpose room at the school once a week or so. Decide what you want to charge, how many kids you could teach, and ask for parent volunteers to stay in the room with you to help "manage" the chaos while they are learning. You would need to really plan your hour - lesson plans for every single minute, and set ups that make everything run like clockwork. It would also look great on your resume.
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G.B. answers from Tulsa on August 26, 2010
I work for the family that own a dance studio and gymnastics business. I know they do okay but he still has to work as a teacher to make ends meet. They have been in the dance/gymnastics business for over 40 years and they still struggle sometimes, in this economy, this year they are almost totally full. This is the first time in several year that they are having to find more teachers and assistants. They, of course, use the older kids for teaching alongside the owners but this may be something you could do in the evenings.
There are a couple of independent adult teachers they allow to teach independent classes, such as adult tap or jazz. The money goes to the teacher and she pays the owners a fee for using their business and facility. I also think If you really love dance then go for it.
When going to college you will have to audition for admittance into the dance program. You will need to show versatility and strength. Any programs or recitals you have done should be relearned/practiced just to get you back in the groove. To loosen those muscles and inner core flexibility.
To support yourself and contribute to the family budget for this then you can go talk to the dance program staff at the school you want to go to, find out about general eduction requirements, get a degree sheet, visit with a financial aide counselor, if you are not married I don't think his income counts against yours. There is no legal contract between you regarding income and "marital" assets.
I think it is easy to go to college as an adult. I was financially better off and happier when going to college than any other time in my life. I lived on campus in married student housing with my daughter and financial aid covered every bill, including housing, phone, and cable. I only had to buy food and clothing.
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W.M. answers from Nashville on August 26, 2010
I would start by applying to dance studios to be a helper or to work as a teacher in one of the studios to get to know how to run a class, how to run a studio, etc My daughter took dance and the studio was non stop M-S from 10a to 8p so we know she was making money. It was the owner in one studio and then another teacher in the other studio. You can learn from that owner and then decide whether you want to open your own. It might be hard to find a place for a studio, if you have a place, think about just starting with a few classes per week. Do the type of dance that you are best at. Buy some videos to cheat and get ideas. Go to another town where you will not be competition and take the studio owner in that area to lunch and pick her brain. Pay for her lunch and tell her that you want to start your own in your town and would like to ask some questions. If you are good in all forms of dance, think of something that is new and different that would set you apart from everyone else. Seeing as you are in Nashville, this studio is Danceworks in M'boro, there are three other studios that I know of in M'boro so apparently there is a lot of need. See how much competition you would have in Nash. Also, this might sound crazy but pole dance classes are becoming very popular in NY and Cali. Not the kind to work at a club, but the kind for exercise and your husband. ;o) It is big in those states, you could bring it here. I bet more ppl than you know would be interested. Good luck!
J.S. answers from Seattle on July 07, 2011
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