In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured!
My parents have been supportive of my dancing through high school, but now I want to audition for professional companies, and they just don't understand. They want me to apply to colleges—they don't see dance as a "real" career. How can I convince them that this is what I'm meant to do?
One of the things that many dancers struggle with is convincing people, especially parents, that dance is a real job. My advice would be to approach this as an adult. I would sit them down and calmly, rationally, explain to them that this is your dream. You could even do some research about different companies, dancer salaries and so on, and create a little presentation. Not only will that better explain ballet as a career to them, but it'll also show them how serious you are about it. If they see the time and effort you put in to even explaining your dream to them, then they might start to see how much this means to you. Another thing you can do is talk to your teacher. Maybe he or she can have a meeting with your parents about career paths. That way you add a third party into the mix. They might be more willing to listen then. Hang on to your dream!