Erin Baiano

Dear Katie: How Can I Balance Dance and Academics?

In our "Dear Katie" series, Miami City Ballet soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email dearkatie@dancespirit.com for a chance to be featured!

Dear Katie,

I'm serious about dancing, but I'm also a good academic student. I'm 15 now, and it's getting really hard to balance my intensive dance training with honors classes and the homework that comes with them. I don't want to pick a path just yet—I'm not sure if I want to try to dance professionally, or if I want to go to college, or if I want to do both! Is there a way to balance everything without cutting way back on either dance or schoolwork?

Alex


Dear Alex,

First of all, I think it's wonderful that you're focused on academics. That dedication will pay off outside the studio, of course. But it'll also benefit you as a dancer by expanding your horizons, and teaching you different ways of thinking and problem-solving.

I can't tell you what to do, but I can help you look at this dilemma from different perspectives. First, the dance-focused point of view: You won't be able to dance at a high level forever, but you can always return to your academic studies, pursuing college once your performing career is over. (Or you can take college courses while dancing, which has become a common and accepted practice.) If you think you might want to dance professionally, now is the time to commit to it.

On the flip side: If you end up choosing a more academic path, that doesn't mean you have to eliminate dancing from your life! You could take classes on the side, or become an avid arts supporter. You could also enroll in a college ballet program, which is a good middle ground. There are spectacular programs out there that would allow you to continue dancing at a high level.

The takeaway here is that there's no "wrong" choice. Whatever route you choose, you'll be able to pursue it without regrets.

For more of Katie's helpful tips and advice, click here.


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A Letter from the Editor in Chief

Hi, dance friends. It is a strange time to be a person in the world, and an especially strange time to be a dancer. As the dance community faces the coronavirus crisis, a lot of you are coping with closed studios, canceled performances and competitions, and a general sense of anxiety about how your world will look going forward.

Yes, dancers are super resilient, and there's been a lot of inspiring community-building happening. #LivingRoomDances and Instagram dance parties and virtual ballet classes with the pros are wonderful. Dance can, and should, be a bright spot in the darkness. But that weird, empty feeling you have? It might be grief. The loss of the certainty of daily class, the loss of the promise of that big end-of-year performance—that's real. The dance studio has always been a safe place; it's especially hard not to have that outlet now, when you need it most.

We're here for you. We—and our friends at Dance Magazine, Pointe, Dance Teacher, The Dance Edit, and Dance Business Weekly—are doing our best to document the hurdles facing the dance industry, and to advocate for dancers in need. We're developing more online content that will help you maintain and improve your technique while you're at home, and process the mental and emotional fallout of all this upheaval. (You can keep up with the latest stories here.) And we're still making our print magazine. We have issues planned and shot, full of great dance stories and beautiful photos. We're not going anywhere.

We want to hear from you. Talk to us. Or dance to us. Or both. We won't stop moving, and you shouldn't, either.

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