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A Dancer's Guide to Contingency

In just a mere couple of months, we've seen COVID-19 tear through global economies. Dance organizations have been flipped upside-down in the form of layoffs, canceled seasons, and even bankruptcy. The coronavirus pandemic is proof that no matter the institution or job, nothing is guaranteed. This virus is weeding out all vulnerabilities.

Just like how businesses prepare themselves for potential crises, why don't dancers do the same? Whether it be COVID-19, a natural disaster, unemployment, injury, or career transition, it's important to think ahead (always) with a contingency plan. We're living in an age where nothing but uncertainty is certain.

In light of this, we decided to team up with International Freelance Dancer Brittany O'Connor, to explore this dancer vulnerability in further detailthrough the lens of a classical to freelance/commercial career transition.

Surprised at the parallels, that got us thinking. Why not apply Brittany's experience and insight into daily life? Her emphasis on strategy, planning, and its benefits are the key to a steady and smooth transition from professional training to professional dancer, career transition, and beyond.

We created an easy 5-step contingency plan and guide, suitable for any scenario. All you have to do is remember to hit save (for those surfing via phone, tap for a higher resolution):

Some important questions to ask yourself:

  • How have you handled yourself until now?

  • Why not use this time to self-reflect? Not just in your career but in life?

Oh, and here's Part II:

Our final words? Use this time to focus on the here and now. For professionals who are living from paycheck to paycheck, this is a dangerous thing with consequences that will result in overdue rent, bills, mortgage, and so on. Or perhaps you're a professional training student halted amid your first audition season? Think resume, cover letter, research, and the like.

It's time to shift your thinking from "living in the moment" to longevity. After all, your livelihood as a dancer depends on how well you're able to educate yourself beyond the technicalities of dance.

You got this.