Preparing the Dance Artist for a Sustainable Career

By: Cheyla Clawson  

While an emerging body of published research explores examples of community initiatives being achieved through dance, few studies have explored the extent to which community integration practices are being infused into the BFA curriculum. For the purpose of this study, community integration practice course content may include entrepreneurship and creative venture, business for the arts, writing and research skills including grants and public scholarship, community engagement including prevention and social programming, and professional internships. Unobtrusive methods were utilized to investigate the role community engaged curriculum plays in a four-year dance performance degree. What courses currently exist that enable students to graduate with a four-year dance performance degree while enhancing their ability to become independent, sustainable artists? Are these courses required or electives? What role does curriculum infusion play in introducing students to market-driven transferable skills? Program related research of this type is a vital precursor for understanding gaps in preparation dance performance degree students have when entering the professional realm of dance. This is particularly relevant within the current economic climate as the number of awarded dance degrees increases but the number of full-time and part-time jobs decrease. Today’s dance performer will increasingly need to employ a variety of entrepreneurial skills to create their own career paths. Empowering future graduates with additional community skills will impact the field of dance in ways we may not yet imagine. Educating performers to integrate their work into communities can not only increase potential employment opportunities but also build social capital.

Degree, Curriculum, Community
Arts Education
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Cheyla Clawson

Assistant Professor of Dance, Dance, Wichita State University, United States
United States