Dancer or Dance Artist? Dance Careers and Identity

Dawn Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Martha Graham famously said, “We have so little time to be born to the moment”.The practice of ‘staying in’ or being ‘alive’ to the present is fundamental to dance performance; and yet sustainable careers in dance require dance artists to look beyond the moment, beyond performance and, often, beyond the artform. Inspired by a passion for dance performance, dance students most often train with the aim of achieving a performance career, whereas the realities of dance practice often involve continuous transitions within protean careers that require continual up-skilling and the development of a holistic professional identity. This paper considers the working lives of dancers in Australia in terms of transition and identity, arguing that there is good reason to adopt the term ‘dance artist’ and to radically change the perception of success to encapsulate the broad and valuable roles that dance artists play within society.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe International Journal of the Arts in Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


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