How Dance Prepares You for Your “Second Act”
By Ava Karas
It is not uncommon to hear some of our pre-professional dancers planning for their “second-act”, or what they plan to do after high school level dancing. Many of our seniors are attending prestigious universities with rigorous majors, such as Computer Science at Washington University in St. Louis and at New York University, and Biology at Case Western Reserve University (on full scholarship). They also plan to double major in Dance. Our Pre-Professional Level Six students dance approximately twenty hours a week, and still manage to pack in those high grades.
Why? Dancing has more benefits than what meets the eye. Dancers possess work ethic that is unfathomable to most people. Their tireless dedication to being on their toes (literally) for hours a day makes the perseverance needed for a molecular biology class or the attention to detail needed for Calculus AB seem like a piece of cake! Dancers have the discipline to motivate themselves to get to the library and study. Because our students are so busy, they have a solid sense of time management as well as priorities.
Dancers also develop the ability to pick up quickly. Because our pre-professional dancers learn so many combinations and pieces of choreography a day, they are naturally attentive, alert, and fast learners that are flexible when change is required.
In terms of thinking post-college, dancers are just the sort of employees that the 21st century is craving. Recent studies show that cognitive skills (such as math and reading) are losing value more and more in the workplace. In a world that is so driven by the media and technology, workers that can communicate, problem solve, create, and innovate (non-cognitive skills) are desperately needed. Dancers spend so much time self-correcting as well as working with one another in certain chorographical pieces that their non-cognitive skills are already ripe and developed for the professional world.
So, ladies and gentleman keep on dancing! Even if you plan on pursuing dance after school in the professional world … you will at some point need a “second act.”