Is A Career In Dance Really Worth It?

Wendy Williams Feet During 'Dancing with the Stars'
Photo: Wendy Williams' Feet During 'Dancing with the Stars' (from Media Takeout)

Is A Career In Dance Really Worth It?

Bloody feet, back pain, low pay, no pay, pulled muscles, knee surgery, hip replacement, no paid time off, no paid holidays, sick leave, or maternity leave, no 401K, no medical/dental benefits, too many talented dancers, and not enough jobs, lack of respect, lack of appreciation, lack of government support, auditions, cattle calls, years of training, short career span, the list goes on and on!
What would possess someone to sign up for that?!! They’d have to be crazy, right? Well, maybe…

A young male dancer posed this question to me a few weeks ago, when I was speaking on a panel with 4 other professional dancers/dance teachers, on how to be successful, survive, and thrive as a professional dancer. Although each one of us had different reasons for why it IS worth it, we all had the same answer: Yes!

How Do You Know If A Career In Dance Is Worth It For YOU?

My answer to his question was, “I can’t answer that question for you, I can only answer it for myself. For me, it is absolutely worth it. For you? I have no idea”.

You have to ask yourself, “if I woke up tomorrow, and I could never dance again, how would I feel? Would it matter to me? Would I care? Would I be devastated? Would I feel like a part of me is missing?” If your answer to these questions is, yes, then a career in dance is worth the pain, the struggles, and the difficulty, because you can’t imagine your life without it.

My Dance Hiatus
Along with one of the other panelists, I had taken a short hiatus from dancing many years ago, after graduating from College with a Dance degree (ironically). I graduated, didn’t have a job, and didn’t have any money, so I couldn’t take dance classes, or go to auditions. I didn’t even have money for bus fare!
So I borrowed some money from my Dad, got myself together, went on some job interviews, and landed at the job that I’d worked at during Summer, Spring, and Winter breaks, throughout college. It was an office job, with some work in the field, and came with a company car, great salary, and medical/dental benefits. Technically, a really great gig. But, I wasn’t happy, because I wasn’t dancing. The money, the car, the shopping (and boy did I shop! lol), and the comfort, were not enough. It didn’t matter to me. I wasn’t dancing.

Have you ever heard that saying that goes something like, ‘find your passion, what you love to do, what you would do for free, then find a way to make money from it, and you’ll be happy forever’?

Well, that’s what being a dancer is all about.

Why Is A Career In Dance Really Worth It?

Because we don’t just dance, we ARE dancers.
It’s a part of who we are, just like our gender, our ethnicity, religion, etc. It’s a part of us. So, we don’t really choose dance, dance chooses us. Not dancing, is like not breathing, for people like you and me.

We love it. We live it. We can’t live without it. It feeds our soul. It’s how we celebrate the great things in life, and how we get through the tough times in life. It revives us, it heals us. It’s how we communicate and express ourselves. It’s how we bring joy to others, and touch people’s lives. It’s how we send positive, powerful energy vibes into the world around us that affect those who are like us, and those who are only dancers in their heart.

It’s a way of life. It’s a gift. It’s a blesssing. Dance is life.
Other Difficult Jobs That Are Totally Worth It
– Parent

– Doctor

– Nurse

– Minister/Pastor

– Dance Studio Owner

– Caregiver

– Police Officer

– Fireman

– Musician

– Teacher

– Artist

– Attorney

– Judge

– Entrepreneur

And many more! Feel free to add some to this list.

What do you think? Is a dance career really worth it? Is it worth it to work in any career that is very demanding, competitive, and not always rewarding financially?

Do you think I’m crazy?

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