I wanted to write this blog post as I feel I am stuck in a hole. I think other graduates, not just dance graduates have felt like this since graduating…
Before going off to university you are without a doubt naive. With this naivety comes endless bundles of confidence and down right cockiness. With this attitude you strut off to uni like a peacock showing off your feathers because at this point, the world is you oyster. Fast forward three years, an expensive graduation and a year later and you’ve lost all of that gusto you went into uni with. And when I say lost, I mean like you dropped it off the Grand Canyon lost, like it’s never coming back lost! After this comes the endless twister of ‘What the F&*k am I going to do now’. The only way I can describe this is that you feel like one of the fish at the end of Finding Nemo. You’ve managed to escape your fish tank but now your stuck floating in the sea in your plastic bag (Oh great!). Adding to that ‘what next’ feeling is the realization you’ve lost all of that confidence you paraded into uni with. I’m sure a lot of graduates feel this way but I studied Dance and I think a physical course comes with some added extras. Instead of interviews we have to audition and good opportunities for grad dance jobs are fewer and far between than regular grad jobs. With the added lack of confidence the world seems like a very unsure place. If you feel similar to this I’m sure you have experienced the ‘I’m only trying to help person’, they kindly reminds you that ‘If you can get up onstage and dance you must be a confident person?’, in which you just internally roll your eyes to. The getting up on stage isn’t the problem it’s the confidence to go an audition, the feeling of not being good enough, not being good enough to even apply for the audition, the confidence to think you are good enough, yes I can crush this!
Whilst at University they do attempted to open our eyes to some of the opportunities out there, but realistically there are only a few main routes. I have seen many fellow peers go down these routes and fair play to the ones who are still dancing and killing life with their bundles of confidence in tacked. These options are teaching, trying to join an established dance company, create & choreograph your own dance company, audition and work abroad in a holiday venue or sit and do nothing with your degree. In all honesty yes I could probably do all of the first 4 things as let’s be honest I’ve done my fair share of the last one since graduating. But there is something stopping me from doing the first few things on that list. Deep in the pit of my stomach. I just can’t put myself forwards for things as somewhere along the line I have kind of convinced myself I am not good enough. I would rather distract myself with something else than apply for an audition where I could do my passion as a full time job. There are a lot of against factors, funding for dance is being cut continually and finding and establishing your own platform as a little 22 year old is a big thing to do! Ok yes I am teaching dance currently but I always assumed I wouldn’t be any good until I gained more professional experience. Which looking back I was actually wrong about because there is nothing better than seeing their faces when they get something. I do really love the teaching I am doing but it would be nice to do something myself. Teaching shows me a glimmer of what I could achieve in dance. I get the ‘I can do better feeling’ mixed with the constant chatter of the ‘you’re not doing enough, you idiot’ gremlins that fester around your head.
It’s all just very confusing, yes there are routes but which one? In all honesty I would love to be able to constantly create things and perform on stage, or see kids have their light bulb moment. Or maybe there are paths ways I just haven’t considered yet? I just don’t have a clue how to do them it whilst being able to support myself and save for a rainy day? For me I’m a home bird and so being based in rural Gloucestershire you have to take all the opportunities you are offered as they are far and in between. But I am also starting to think (thanks to writing this) that nothing will happen until you make it happen, I have the ability I’m just not sure of my own capability. The confidence is hiding somewhere, I just need to bring it out. How do you become confident enough to actually put myself out there? It’s the oddest feeling and I hope I am not alone, dance graduate or not.
Thanks, I hope this babble made sense?!
Chloe (a soon to be confident dance grad).