Web Exclusive - Ask Amy

I’m interested in eventually pursuing a career in the arts after I’m done dancing. What kinds of jobs are there in a ballet company besides the artistic director and teachers? —Kat

A ballet company is just like any other business—outside of its artistic staff, there are numerous administrative positions for managing its day-to-day operations. For instance, the executive director manages the company’s financial side and non-artistic staff, leads strategic planning and communicates with the board of directors. Companies also have a development department, which is in charge of fund-raising, special events and managing relationships with patrons and potential donors. A company manager may act as an administrative assistant to the artistic director, as well as a tour manager and a liaison between dancers and artistic staff. People in marketing manage the company’s brand, image and social media presence, while public relations associates handle press inquiries and announcements. All of these positions require business acumen, so while your knowledge of ballet is a huge plus, you’ll need a college degree to be considered. For leads on undergraduate and graduate programs in arts management, check out Association of Arts Administration Educators and the National Council of Arts Administrators.

 

Of course, if business skills aren’t your thing, you may want to consider a behind-the-scenes career on the production side. I’ve known several dancers who’ve transitioned into stage management, making sure performances run smoothly from backstage. If you’re itching for something more artistic, you can always pursue a career in costume, lighting or set design. Many companies also have a videographer and photographer on staff (both of whom work closely with the marketing and public relations department). Of course, these positions require further training, too.

 

If you’re interested in learning more about arts administration or production, I would contact professionals in positions that interest you for insight on what they do on a daily basis, as well as what skills and educational credentials you'll need to get started. Career Transition For Dancers is a great resource for those thinking about the next step—for more information on how they can help, click here.

Latest Posts


Complexions Contemporary Ballet's Tatiana Melendez Proves There's No One Way to Have a Ballet Career

This is Pointe's Fall 2020 cover story. Click here to purchase this issue.

Talk to anyone about rising contemporary ballerina Tatiana Melendez, and one word is bound to come up repeatedly: "Fierce." And fair enough, that's a perfectly apt way to describe the 20-year-old's stage presence, her technical prowess and her determination to succeed. But don't make the mistake of assuming that fierceness is Melendez's only (or even her most noteworthy) quality. At the core of her dancing is a beautiful versatility. She's just as much at ease when etching pure classical lines as she is when boldly throwing herself off-balance.

"Selfish choreographer that I am, I want Tatiana to stay with Complexions for all time," says her boss Dwight Rhoden, Complexions Contemporary Ballet's co-artistic director and resident choreographer. "She has a theatricality about her: When the music comes on, she gets swept away." Not too shabby for someone who thought just a few years ago that maybe ballet wasn't for her.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

The Anatomy of Arabesque: Why Placement and Turnout Are Key to Achieving This Crucial Position

Audition for any school or company, and they'll likely ask for a photo in arabesque. The position not only reveals a great deal about a dancer's ability, but it is also a fundamental building block for more advanced movements, like penché or arabesque turn. Beyond technique, it can be the epitome of grace and elegance onstage, creating unforgettable images—just try to imagine Swan Lake or Balanchine's Serenade without an arabesque.

Yet many dancers are unsatisfied with their arabesque lines, and students frequently ask how to improve their extensions. (Social media posts of dancers with extreme flexibility don't help!) In an attempt to lift the back leg higher, dancers may sacrifice placement and unknowingly distort their position in the process. How can you improve the height of your back leg while maintaining proper placement and turnout? We talked to a few experts to better understand the science behind this step.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

#TBT: Gelsey Kirkland and Mikhail Baryshnikov in "Coppélia" (1976)

Gelsey Kirkland and Mikhail Baryshnikov share the unique experience of having danced at both American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet during their careers. The two overlapped at ABT in the mid-'70s, where they developed one of the best-known partnerships in ballet. They were both celebrated for their dynamism onstage; however, in this 1976 clip of the pas de deux from Coppélia, Kirkland and Baryshnikov prove they are also masters of control.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks