Should I turn down an apprenticeship to finish my dance degree, or should I put my education on pause? —Ashleigh
Congratulations on receiving an apprenticeship offer! They don't come every day. If you think you're ready for company life, and will be full of regrets if you turn the offer down, you can always resume school later. However, make sure you know what the position entails.
Not all apprenticeships are paid, and there's no guarantee that you'll be promoted to the company's corps de ballet at season's end. Are you comfortable entering the dance world without the security of a college degree? And are you motivated enough to return to school if you put your education on pause now?
If your answer to either is “no," or if you think you need another year or two of training, consider staying put. A company environment is fast-paced; the focus is on the work that needs to be done in rehearsals more than training. And you'll have very little time to develop other skills you may be exploring in college, such as choreography, pedagogy or modern dance.
If you're still torn, seek the best of both worlds. Can you receive credit for professional experience, or finish courses online? Can you defer school for a year, or negotiate to start your apprenticeship next season? Be open and honest with both the company director and your professors—you won't know what's possible unless you ask!
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