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 Post subject: Dance on your CV: not a sport therefore not of value?
PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2002 3:12 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 38
Location: London, UK
A friend of mine, who I have known since we both started pre-ballet when we were 2 (which was so cute... I really wish I were that old again, and could spend my time skipping around in a mini-tutu!) has recently started applying from jobs following completing her MA.<P>After the usual academic questions, the interviewers have started discussing her extra-curricular activities. Basically, they have taken the line "well, your activities are not very rounded as you don't do any sport".<P>When my friend politely but firmly points out that she does 6-8 hours of ballet a week, which is very physically demanding, they say "well, there's no teamwork in that". My friend then explains the level of teamwork involved in organising choreography (she choreographs the children's dancing for the local pantomime), and also the many skills needed to help teach little ones, the interviewers attitude is "it's just not the same as being out on a football pitch with 10 other men".<P>Putting aside the gender bias inherent in this comment, I wondered how other people have found ballet regarded by others? It doesn't seem to be valued in the way other activities are: certainly when I interviewed for jobs after university, nobody asked me about my dancing, but almost everyone asked about the rowing I did, even though I only rowed for a couple of terms, and had danced for most of my life! <P>Have you found your dance activities have been dismissed? Why do you think this is?<p>[This message has been edited by MariaR (edited May 13, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: Dance on your CV: not a sport therefore not of value?
PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2002 7:24 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 24, 1999 11:01 pm
Posts: 19975
Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
That <B>is</B> an interesting question Maria and rather alarming if the circumstances are repeated elsewhere. One wonders what the employer's reaction would be to an individual sport such as squash.<P>The benefits of dance and choreography - discipline, focus, fitness, creative activity, working with others - seem so obvious.<P>It would be interesting to hear if anyone has had any similar experiences. <p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited May 13, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: Dance on your CV: not a sport therefore not of value?
PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2002 7:56 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 218
Hmmm, I can understand to a degree that a 'male' interviewer with no interest in dance in general might have trouble relating to ballet as an activity but that is most certainly no excuse to just dismiss it out of hand.<P>Maybe part of the problem is that since it looks so effortless when you watch it those 'outsiders' fail to realise how physically demanding ballet is.<P>Years ago a pre-elementary ballet student told me that her husband once had come to class with her just in order to proof how little diffiulty ballet would present for him,him being the fit sportsman that he was (he was doing Judo several times a week among other activities). Guess what: 20 minutes into the class he was soaked in sweat. He never again belittled the physical demands of ballet training and kept training ever since instead having become quite ambitous due to that experience.<P>


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 Post subject: Re: Dance on your CV: not a sport therefore not of value?
PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2002 8:15 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1876
Location: New England
In general, our society knows VERY little about dance. Dance organizations put a large effort into educating the public at large, just to maintain an audience; the responsibility to patiently educate others falls on every dancer as well.<P>It is well-known (among dancers) that ballet training is physically strenuous; it is up to the dancer to cite documentation to that effect. For example, NYCB's program cites a study in which ballet was found to be the second-most strenuous "sport" out there: easier than football, harder than hockey. People believe something more if they see it in writing.<P>Although it is certainly hard at times, I think a positive, patient, inviting approach is the best way with people like the interviewer mentioned.<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Dance on your CV: not a sport therefore not of value?
PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2002 8:42 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Mostly, I find that people are intrigued to learn that I dance. They have never met a dancer before. On the other hand most of them have no idea of the dedication, time and resources that a dancer puts into this activity.<P>I did meet someone who was stunned to learn that dancers actually get paid to dance. Many still consider it a frivolous adjunct to 'real life'.<P>On the whole I find that I get more 'respect' (maybe I should use the word 'understanding') for the teaching aspect than for the performing aspect of my career.


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 Post subject: Re: Dance on your CV: not a sport therefore not of value?
PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2002 9:04 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 20, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 3000
Location: San Francisco
Back in the '70s, my brother (also a dancer) and I were talking to our great aunt and uncle, who were visiting, and who hadn't seen us in years. My great uncle asked my brother, "What do you do?" My brother told him he was a dancer. My great uncle said, "No, I mean what's your job?" My brother replied, "I'm a dancer." "No, I mean what do you do for a living?" "I'm a dancer." My great uncle left it at that, with a puzzled look, and didn't bring up the subject again.


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 Post subject: Re: Dance on your CV: not a sport therefore not of value?
PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2002 11:30 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 22, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 130
Location: UK
This reminds me of a story about the composer Benjamin Britten when he was a teenager. Someone asked him what he was going to be when he grew up. He said "A composer", and the person who had asked the question said "Yes, but what else?".<P>I have also found that a lot of people think that being a member of a professional orchestra is a part time job. It seems that by "outsiders" none of the arts are taken seriously.


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 Post subject: Re: Dance on your CV: not a sport therefore not of value?
PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2002 4:32 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2001 12:01 am
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Location: New England
I think they see a 2-hour show or concert, and think it's a part-time job. They don't understand that 99% of the time spent on the art is NOT on stage.<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Dance on your CV: not a sport therefore not of value?
PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2002 1:00 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 3129
Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Yes and of course as dance teachers the only work we do is at class and as I teach on average 4 or 5 hours a day what on earth do I do with the rest of my time? I have also had people question whether dance teaching is particularly a physical job, and people ask me whether I do any exercise after they know I am a dance teacher!


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