Choreographic machine or barre against the background of the dance ballet class

My dancer doesn’t want to go to college, but needs to continue training. What are some options that we should explore?

This is a text message that I actually JUST responded to from one of my dance parents. If you’re in this boat, it’s a lot more common that you’d think. 
If your dancer is at a local dance studio and about to graduate high school, they basically have three options if they want to continue dancing at a high level.

1. Dance Professionally

If this is an option for you straight from high school, congratulations! You’re a part of the minority. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you should take the opportunity. It depends on the specifics of what you want in your life. Right now it’s important to take all of the opportunities at your disposal and weigh out the different pros and cons with someone that knows what they’re talking about! Here’s a question I’d ask you to answer if I was your dance coach: Do you have any idea of what you’d like to do after you finish dancing? Or do you see yourself being in dance forever? In other words, are you here for a good time or a long time? Your perspective on the answer to that question would give me an idea of which opportunities might be the best ones for YOU.

2. Go to College for a few years while you develop.

I should be clear, I went to college so I’m coming from a very specific perspective. College definitely isn’t for everyone but the environment that college creates for dancers is something I hope everyone gets to experience in some way. Most of the dancers that I coach that are leaders in the field had something that felt like a challenging learning environment for their “college years”. It’s an extremely valuable asset if it works for you

  1. You get to dance new pieces choreographed by world class choreographers consistently.
  2. You get to train with dancers from all backgrounds. Learning to work with them, get along with them, and be inspired by them will change you in ways that I can’t put words to.
  3. You get to build a network of influential mentors that each feel personally invested in your success… if you do it right 😉

3. Find a short term program that allows you to work with talented dancers and choreographers consistently.

If college absolutely isn’t for you and you know it, then this is the option for you. There are a few options like Certificate Programs or One or Two Year Study Programs that you should find. They’ll be attached to big institutions so you know that you’ll encounter top notch teachers and choreographers. While you’re in these programs you should try to do freelance gigs AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. During these “college years” you’re really informing the professional artist you’ll become. Find a place where you can work hard and do a lot at the highest level. If school’s not for you, this may be a strong option for you.

I hope this helps you on your journey!