$1,000 Scholarships.com Business Scholarship Award Winner
Most people wouldn't consider a twenty-three year old ballet dancer without a college degree qualified to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement, but there I was, sitting across the table from the managing director of the company. For the past nine years I have been a professional ballet dancer with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. Helping to negotiate the union’s contract is just one of the many interesting experiences that the life of a working artist has brought me.
In addition to acquiring negotiating skills I have learned management skills by helping to organize a benefit for the Dancer’s Trust Fund which gives grants to retiring dancers for career transition. These types of activities may seem out of character for a man in tights, but challenging oneself in all aspects of life comes naturally to an artist especially a ballet dancer. Our lifestyle and work are indiscernible due to the commitment required to be successful. Our art is who we are, not just what we do. It is our passion. Having a grasp, as I now do now, of the other side of the industry gives me the peace of understanding, and enriches an already very fulfilling job. I have performed solo onstage at the Hollywood Bowl. I have thrilled audiences from Hong Kong to Edinburgh to Monte Carlo. I have even made a lay up at half time of a WNBA basketball game in full 'Nutcracker' costume(no joke) but I have not completed college.
These many unique and wonderful experiences are why I am pursuing a second career in the business world. I currently stand on the precipice of retirement from ballet believing that to remain relevant and productive the art form requires someone with business acumen as well as insider knowledge. I hope that my future success will enable me to help perpetuate that which has brought me so much success already.