When I think of the word “art,” business is far from thought. Art is creative, unique, and experiential… business is stiff, constrained, and serious. However, the two must make a necessary collaboration in order to make a successful career that will provide enough income and security in a career that is often plagued with uncertainty and risk. Being an artist requires taking leaps of faith and being okay with uncertainty or being uncomfortable.
I have had a clear picture of what I want for my future for a few years now. Although it has shifted slightly and taken a few different paths, those hiccups have revealed the importance of having multiple options. You cannot simply say, “I want to dance!” A thousand other people just want to dance too! You have to be specific in your goals and always have a backup plan… even though it may not be your first choice or your dream. In order to make my business plan I thought hard about how much I was willing to give up regarding my art. Honestly I would not dance in a small company for my career. I know myself too well to think I could ever be happy doing that. If I got injured or didn’t ever get into one of the major companies I hope to get a contract with I would switch to another option- physical therapy. My plan B is entirely different from having a career in performing, but I know it would make me happy, allow me to provide for myself, and keep me engaged. I could also incorporate my knowledge of anatomy from dance and apply it in a different way.
My business plan is to continue majoring in dance at SMU and possibly minor in psychology or even double major in Pre-Physical Therapy. I want to audition for some major companies my senior year and if I received a contract for the following year, I would go dance with a professional company until I retired. I could always teach on the side if I needed extra money, which I have really enjoyed doing at a local studio for the past 2 years. I do not want to be a dance teacher as my career, but I would not mind supplementing my income with a teaching salary. If I didn’t dance, I would go to graduate school for physical therapy and start practicing as soon as I could. I could find an internship over the summer possibly my junior year if I did not dance over the summer to see if that is what I would want to do with my career after dancing.
It is hard to predict my future as an artist, as a large portion of my decisions will be made by other people (directors of companies). However, I want to be prepared for anything and I am so fortunate to go to a school where I can receive impeccable dance training and be able to make a solid plan B for myself. Making a business plan is important and knowing what I would want to do if dance didn’t work out is something I have been thinking about for a few years now… and it’s definitely an ongoing process!