Students dance into early careers

Students usually go to college to help them secure a job by getting a degree, but for the students in the UH dance program, getting jobs in their field is happening well before they graduate.

“I believed I needed more experience in dance,” said dance senior Katey Tidwell, who works at The River Performing and Visual Arts Center. “There is always more to learn when it comes to dance. By majoring in dance, I learned about all of the aspects of dance: how to choreograph, teach, costume, light and how to produce your own show.”

The dance students are looking to expand their experience in the classroom and immediately apply it to
the “real world.” When it comes to moving on from the current positions that they hold, having that degree
seems to be the object that will give them a leg up against other dancers.

There are negatives to trying to accomplish both at once, though. Instead of being focused on excelling
in one area, students are stretched between two important goals in their lives.

“Working my way through school has been helping me a lot in focusing on what I want to do with my career in dance,” said dance junior Vi Dieu. “But it is because of school that sometimes I cannot work to make money.”

Tidwell said she has the same issue. One or the other will get forgotten for some time if the other needs
more attention. But Tidwell said her homework will go undone whenever she has to put in more hours at work.

Math junior Jaymes Barcenas, who originally a double majored in math and dance, had to forget his dance degree and take it as a minor because of the workload, among other reasons, but he said the program changed his life.

“If I wouldn’t have danced in the department, I wouldn’t have been so close to the ballet teachers as I am now, and I wouldn’t have my ballet mentor,” Barcenas said. “In a sense, the department was a stepping stone for dance just like the MET (an off-campus studio), and me dropping the major was my break away from being forced to become what they, the modern teachers, want me to be and finally become what I want to be.”

The dance students have an understanding of what they want and what they don’t want with their careers and their education because they are experiencing what it is like before they graduate. It is hard to balance both, but without that, their opinions and personal choices would not be the same.

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