Thursday, July 17, 2008

Career Transition....Professional Development?

First let me begin with a few questions: Is career transition a scary term? Is professional development available to performing artists? At what point do we begin thinking about the "what's next"?

Very few of us are so lucky to reinvent ourselves on the stage as many times as Baryshnikov or Gus Solomons Jr. But we don't have to leave the pursuit of dance as we mature or transition. Career Transition for Dancers is a great organization providing counseling, research tools and funding for professional dancers at any point in their career. The funding requires a minimum of seven years professional experience, but doesn't necessarily have to be a "career transition" it can also be for professional development.

I have many years left to dance, and last spring I received a grant of $2000 to assist with my interest in teaching Gyrotonic. The process was fairly simple and very informative as well. I recall a very humbling moment going through my contracts of years past and totaling my net income....well let's just say I have lived a rich life on very little money! Add that to the research that it takes as long to make a professional dancer as it does to make a doctor- an average of 20 years. When a dancer wants to pursue more education Career Transition for Dancers is a valuable resource.

Here's info on the grant that I received:

Caroline H. Newhouse Scholarship Fund

Remaining 2008 grant deadlines: Sep 3 & Nov 5

Provides $2,000 scholarships or grants to initiate an academic or retraining process or to help professional dancers with start-up money for a new business. Please note: Choreographing and teaching dance is not applicable for meeting eligibility requirements.

There is also a support group that meets in NYC:

"Midcareer Moves" is a dynamic support group led by Career Counselor, Anita Lands. This group helps dancers with professional, personal, emotional and psychological transitions and provides them with action steps and resources to move ahead.
The group meets monthly on Wednesdays from 6:00-8:00pm at
165 West 46th Street, Suite 701. New members are always welcome.
Next meeting: Wednesday, July 23

I suppose that in essence we are always transitioning. Although we devote our lives to dancing, transitioning in reference to our careers should be part of how we evolve, not something to fear.

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