Do Dance Majors Need Entrepreneurial Skills?
Dance majors take courses in technique, history, theory, choreography and production, but do not often take entrepreneurship-based classes. It might be said that if dance majors wish to be dance entrepreneurs or business owners, they should supplement their education with specific courses/certificates/degrees that teach those skills. It could be argued, however, that all dancers need these skills to have a sustainable career. Looking at the dance industry from the vantage point of a 25-year career, I wonder: Are we cheating dance students and the dance industry by not consistently incorporating entrepreneurial skills into a formal dance curriculum? This opinion paper delves into this very question. I sent an online survey to dance studio and company owners to evaluate the hard and soft skills they are seeing from current and potential employees with dance degrees. I also provide a brief overview of degree plans in the nation’s top dance programs. The results of the survey suggested a gap in both hard and soft skills needed to be an entrepreneur. The results of the overview indicated that few departments have robust required offerings in career/marketing/entrepreneurship-based performing arts courses. These findings are a springboard for further research and conversation regarding whether there is a need for entrepreneurship-based courses in dance majors’ course of study.
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Authors retain copyright of their work, with first publication rights granted to The Society for Arts Entrepreneurship Education (SAEE).