Opinion: Dance and the performing arts should be considered important careers


Dancers train constantly because of their pursuit of excellence. Photo by Tucker Robbins.

Tucker Robbins
Oxford Stories

Imagine something you find absolutely breathtaking. Something you could stare at or watch for hours and still be just as enamored as you were the first time you saw it.

What if nobody else cared about what you were looking at? Would you still enjoy it? Would you have liked it in the first place if you knew there wasn’t a lot of support for it?

Many regions ignore or forget about the performing arts.

There was a time when people cared less about movies and big sporting events and went to the theater to see a play, a musical, a dance recital. Today, things have changed, and so have the perceptions of performers.

Why does dance matter? This question was asked to three dance adjudicators at a southeastern dance conference in Natchitoches, Louisisana. At first, the question was met with laughter in an auditorium filled with dancers. Then, silence fell, and an adjudicator spoke up and said ‘I’m stumped.’

This simple response reflects the reaction most people go through when someone asks them why their passion is relevant. It’s a private, more individual question that takes more than a quick, witty answer to explain.


Dancers work for/open up their own dance or fitness studios to share their talents with the community or simply stay involved. Photo by Tucker Robbins.

This foundation was built long ago and passed through generations, molded by society. Though traditional teachings and techniques are still part of the dance community, so many different variations and styles have been created, most people do not entirely grasp what the dance community is today.


Dancers implement their passion into their everyday routines. Photo by Tucker Robbins.

Dancers can face curious questions, such as: “So how are you going to make a career out of that?” and “When are you going to stop just having fun with your hobby and find a real job?” What if the same questions were asked to accounting majors or aspiring teachers?

The universal doubt and stigma that artists will never find work, and that there is no real job market, plagues artists who want to follow their passion. Sexuality, race, politics, etc.… don’t matter to artists because of their shared desire to create something beautiful. They are a family.


Dancers break down communication barriers in more ways than one, with words and their bodies. This is why dance is an essential art. Dancers aren’t just going to be out looking for work in an empty job market one day; they’re going to be following their passions with an entire family supporting them.

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