When this blog started just a few weeks ago, I jotted down ideas for a posting about the growing number of higher education opportunities for professional dancers. Then this NY Times article by Gia Kourlas came along and stole my thunder, although it’s clearly more thorough and informative than the posting I was planning on writing.
Ashley Bouder of NYCB, along with Matt Murphy of ABT (who has his own blog and also contributes to the Winger) and 209 more dancers are enrolled in the NY extension of LEAP, Liberal Education for Arts Professionals, an academic program in partnership with Manhattan College that offers bachelor of arts degrees in performing arts. This program and several others in the city allow professional dancers to earn a degree while working around their demanding performing schedules. While many dancers stay in the dance field after retiring from the stage, I’m sure that just as many head in new directions. It’s exciting to hear that Adrian Danchig-Waring of NYCB (and one of my favorite corps dancers) is interested in environmental architecture. Thinking about life after performing is something that all professional dancers should consider, and with more higher education opportunities available, it’s even easier and more encouraging for them to do so.