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.