“When biology major asked if I was illiterate because I studied dance, I realized just how much of a joke my field of study is to some people.” Helen Rolfe

Being a dancer, qualified dance teacher and dance school owner is one side of the mountain …On the other side of the mountain is the world of shipping, a junior Imports Customs clerk.

Starting in the dance scene at the age of 5, the “office job” is a recent venture.


Before the “office job” it was second nature to hear dancers (probably myself) say “I don’t want to work in an office, at a desk whole day”. It was also second nature to hear non-dancers (everyone loves to dance) or shall I say people who don’t do dance as a profession say “Dancing is not a real job”

As a child I had two big dreams:

  1. own my own dance school
  2. go overseas

Even though I was never the best dancer, never given as much opportunities as some of the dancers around me, a lot of the times I created my own.

While people were getting paid to dance abroad I was working an “office job” to make and save money to afford myself an overseas trip and open a dance school, I wasn’t able to wait any longer.

While in High School I applied to study Dance Teaching at UCT and Business at UWC. At this time already being aware of the dance scene and its struggles as a career it was still my first choice. The results arrived! Accepted to study both Dance and Business! It didn’t take long to decide which path to take but the thought of having two completely different options did grab my attention. Is dance a career you can handle? Yes, not is dance a real job but can you handle it as a career? People don’t respect dance, you won’t be taken seriously, and you won’t have a consistent income. All these questions was a quick one second flash thought of doubt, I knew what I wanted regardless.

It’s hard being a dancer. Don’t get me wrong some dancers here, but mostly abroad get paid more than some office workers even managers get paid in a month for one dance performance.

These types of paying jobs are out there but to obtain one every month to have a regular income isn’t always guaranteed in the dance scene from where I’m from. This is why many dancers opt for an office job while others are just multi-talented. Who are dancers and doctors by day for example.

Eventually, found suck in the middle. Slowly starting to enjoy the stressful office job in the oh so confusing shipping industry. Even though the office job was a negotiation in the start, the shipping industry became appealing. The idea of loving it in the future kept me going as the system became less painful to understand. I started a love relationship with something I hated,A OFFICE JOB.

Do dancers understand what it means to a person who is passionate about their office job when they effortlessly say things like “I’d never want to be stuck in an office” bad mouthing office jobs? The exact way people bad mouth dance as a career.

I’m glad to pronounce to you “dancers” and “office people” equal.

Guess what!?It’s hard having dance as a career and its hard having an office job as a career, yet alone both at the same time. Dancers say “But we are passionate, our jobs are creative.” Yes it is, but what about people who are passionate about running a business? Dancers need to stop being angry at people for disrespecting our job choice when they are doing the same thing.

Being fully aware that being a dancer will never be respected as much as it deserves to be by everyone and that dancers are still angry about this. I also hate that people think dance is only what happens behind Famous singers onstage. When dancing on stage for singers is only one piece of the puzzle that shows how many types of jobs you can do in today’s age with dance. The industry has grown its way into teaching, seminars, businesses of all sorts, series, movies, marketing, physical therapy, you can study dance teaching and it’s an accredited course, it’s in almost every social event. Anything where fun and learning came together, dance has become a part of it.

Dance is the “in thing”. One can only imagine how much more it will still evolve thanks to the creative minds and dynamic bodies that push it.

No one has to be interested in dancers and dancers do not have to bow down to an office job. The request is that we all respect each other’s career choice, an office job is worth equivalent respect to any other career like dance. We all love different things let’s get paid to do it.

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