Should I Pursue Dance As A Career? | Beginner

Sandra: Hi everyone! Today we have Ren Yi!

Ren Yi: Hello everyone, I'm Ren Yi!

Sandra: So, Ren Yi has been a dance instructor for different genres of dance. Today we just have one really burning question that we want to ask her which is, "Should you pursue dance as a career?" Whether it's for you or your child, is it something that you think is good at this point of time, and whether or not it's plausible? Do you want to share with us a little bit about your experience first?

Ren Yi: I'm a dancer, dance instructor, and production manager. I graduated from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA). After that, I taught at NAFA but I switched to the other department called School of Young Talents (Dance Department); I've been a full-time ballet teacher there for 10 years. After that I became a freelance dance instructor so I can do more things.

Sandra: Actually when running Free Movement, there have been a lot of questions from parents, to dancers of all ages. That one question is, "Should I pursue dance as a career?" Or "Should I send my child to SOTA (School Of The Arts), NAFA, or LASELLE College of the Arts?" And, "What is my child going to go through there... are they going to have a career... are they going to earn money... are they going to be able to feed themselves..." There are so many burning questions right now and essentially that's why we have Ren Yi here. I'm just going to ask you one thing: do you think dance can be a career for children, or someone starting from young, or even for adults? What do you think?

Ren Yi: Dance is a career. My experience is that dance is a big umbrella. Even art is a big umbrella. You can do many things related to dance: for example dancer, choreographer, teacher, someone that creates the syllabus, (costume manager), production manager, and dance therapist. Or if you want to work with young children, there's dance education for those with young age... including pre-school. I also have many friends who are handling school CCAs.

Sandra: Yes, that’s true. In Singapore I think a lot of instructors are teaching at schools as well. But I think the bigger question a lot of people would have is, “How many schools can there be teachers in Singapore?” And then, “What else other than teaching?” And “What happens if you’re injured… or if something goes wrong and you cannot teach the class, and things like that?”

So I think one question a lot of people would also want to know, especially if you’re here listening to this: “Is there an age limit? Or rather, do I have to send my child to a dance school from when they are maybe 7 or 8-years-old, or even younger?” I’ve even got people telling me that their child already started dancing at 1.5-years-old… that’s a very very young age. And another related question would be, “Is there a limit if you are in your 30’s, 40’s, or 50’s, can you even try to start dancing?”

Ren Yi: Ok, there are so many questions… first, the “age limit”. I had an experience last year. In Australia there have a dance festival and we went there for a performance. For that festival there was no age limit, so I brought my daughter Yue Yue who was only 8-months-old and we performed! But the oldest participant I remember was 80+ years-old. Actually dance has no limits. If you want to dance, you have the heart, and you can move, you can dance!

Sandra: Essentially, what age should children start dancing? Or is there a certain age when parents should be serious in actually thinking whether or not their child should pursue dance as a full-time career?

Ren Yi: For the age, I can say it is like for a “normal” education (progression). The arts education is similar to a “normal” education. What the parents should be doing is to build up their child’s interest. Because if she or he likes it, they want to do it, then you don’t have to do anything because they like it. Same as studies, right? So if they lose interest, you give so many things to them, then they still cannot (handle it well). From my experience, I came over from Shanghai in 2003 while pursuing my dance dream in Singapore. My background in Shanghai was that I was part of a Ballet professional group. So the age starts from 9 or 10-years-old… and that’s professional school. In Singapore, we don’t have it, so how can we do it? So I just gave you some knowledge about what age you can start their professional career, or what age you can try overseas professional school if she really wants to be a Ballerina. But in Singapore, what you can do is find a good instructor and a good school, and then fully support them whatever way you can and keep up their interest.

Sandra: I think Ren Yi, you are right. Good instructors are generally the most important thing to me. Good instructors and also (the right kind of) dance studios make a lot of difference, because dance floorings also make a lot of difference. Because I’ve been so injured myself as a dancer before… that’s why in our Free Movement Dance Studio I made sure that we completely put in sprung floors. I refuse to have any children or adults getting injured (here), because that’s something I think we can all prevent. So if you do come and try our dance floor, it’s actually totally sprung… which Ren Yi was also saying it’s great because you can jump higher, if you do the floor work you can really go into it while controlling yourself, and prevent a lot of injuries.

Can people reach out to you and ask you more questions, before they actually decide whether they should send their children to the dance school, or whether they themselves should pursue dance as a career? If so, where can they go given what they have or the circumstances? Would they be able to reach out to you, Ren Yi?

Ren Yi: Yes!

Sandra: If you do want to reach out to Ren Yi and really just ask her what your heart desires, and what burning questions you have given her dance experience and her 10 years of teaching at NAFA (13 years including studies), you can do so. If you do have any more questions, feel free to reach out to her. We’ll put the link down below, and you can book an appointment slot to talk to her. I think Ren Yi is also someone who’s very willing to share, so if you have any questions feel free to ask her. She would also want to share her experience and love with you. 

Ren Yi: Yes, of course!

Sandra: I want to say thank you to Ren Yi for coming today. We really appreciate all that Ren Yi is willing to share. If you haven’t already, please like and subscribe down below to our YouTube channel (“Free Movement Dance SG”) so you can watch more videos like this. Other than that, thank you Ren Yi for being here today! Thank you so much for watching today and we’ll see you soon on our next episode! Bye!

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