Are you a dance major constantly defending your major and your career choices?
Maybe you have been in conversations like this:
Person A: Congrats on getting into college! I wish you all the best. What are you majoring in?
Person B: Dance (says with big smile)
Person A: (facial expression changes, slight concern enters, with a hint of pity) Oh dance, interesting. What else are you majoring in? Or do you have a minor? I didn’t know you could major in dance. (chuckles because clearly this is funny)
Person B: (thinks great now I have to explain that I am a legitimate college student) One of two things can happen:
1. You meet this pity with a defensive energy that houses a mixture of irritation and annoyance, and you announce that yes you are just a dance major, and dance is a legitimate major that is actually very hard.
2. You immediately come up with a double major idea or minor that you maybe always had in mind or you quickly think of one to justify that you aren’t wasting time in college but you are also studying an actual subject that will get you somewhere in life.
This dialogue has happened to me countless times, and I know it has happened to all of my fellow dance major friends. People laugh and worry about us because studying just dance can not possibly be all we do. That won’t prepare us for the real world post college; we are sadly preparing ourselves for failure and a career based off of passion and empty pockets.
I have answered both ways to Person A. I either got defensive, and felt the need to prove that dance is actually an amazing major, and especially in my program at Ailey/ Fordham, we still have CORE requirements like philosophy and history, so I am still taking academic classes. Or, I would immediately add that I am minoring in business administration or computer science, so people would take me seriously.
Now, I just laugh at ignorant people because they simply do not know the beauty of dance and how difficult and intellectually stimulating what I do is. Almost all of my professors at Fordham have said dancers are the smartest people in their classes. We are hard working, self driven, we have a keen sense to detail, and we manage to keep up with all of our work despite our crazy schedules. We have to wake up earlier and we have longer days than everyone else in the class, but we make it work. We are honestly superheroes, and sometimes people won’t understand us. I think that’s okay, because we have a lot more people who admire us.
Dancers are creative and very intelligent beings. Many students in my program actually have double majors or minors because they are genuinely interested in another subject, and that is amazing.
However, if you only want to have a minor to justify yourself as a college student then you shouldn’t take up a minor. Major and minors are set up to increase the subject matter students can specialize in because they are interested in learning more about it. When I started college, I was sure that I was going to minor in business administration because it would make me more than just a dance major, and I was interested in the business field. When I met with the head of the business department he said do not take a minor unless you are really interested in learning about it; do not take a minor because you think it will look better on your diploma. He said when you graduate a boss will not think greater of you because you have a minor. Knowledge is always most important, but it does not solely come from a classroom setting. It is great to take a few extra classes to broaden your knowledge on a subject that interests you, but then use it and make it practical.
I have found that dance opens up a great realm of freelance opportunities. We are such creative beings, that we can create our own businesses and outlets to make money on the side along with dance. I have interests outside of dance that I want to explore, like being a entrepreneur or an investor, and those are both possibilities I can do while I dance.
I believe we can do everything and anything that we are passionate about, and it will bring us money. However, you have to create those opportunities, and we cannot always wait for something to fall into our life. Cultivate and share your passions and work hard towards actualizing whatever those are. Working hard towards something we care about is much more beneficial than taking up something you think you should be doing based off our society’s standards.
“We are at our very best, and we are happiest, when we are fully engaged in work we enjoy on the journey toward the goal we’ve established for ourselves. It gives meaning to our time off and comfort to our sleep. It makes everything else in life so wonderful, so worthwhile. ”
– Earl Nightingale
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