In Defense of the Dance Major
April 21, 2014

Florida State University students studying abroad as part of the dance department’s partnership with the Académie Américaine de Danse de Paris.

If you chose to pursue a degree in dance, chances are you’ve heard some version of “But what will you do with a degree like that?” In fact, you’ve probably heard every version of that question, ranging from innocent inquisitiveness (“But why do you need a degree in dance?”) to the downright ridiculous and borderline offensive (“Seems like a waste of time and money to me”).

Two days ago, dancer and educator Shannon Dooling tackled this very topic on her blog—and the post is beginning to go viral among dancers. Dooling teaches dance in Maryland and the Washington, DC, area, and she also co-directs her own dance company, New Street Dance Group. After coming across two reports by NPR’s “Planet Money” team (“What’s Your Major” and “Why Women [Like Me] Choose Lower-Paying Jobs”), Dooling had a few thoughts about why people like dancers choose majors and ultimately professions despite possible financial insecurity.

Dooling also creates a list of reasons why you should major in dance. And she’s got some good ones! Work ethic, learning to deal with frustration and developing 21st-century skills all make the cut.

Each month, DT publishes the Higher Ed column, which dissects different college dance programs and aspects of dance degrees and why they might be good options for your dance students.

What’s on your list? Why do you think getting a dance degree is worthwhile?

Photo by Audrey Murray, courtesy of Florida State University

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