Volunteer opportunities for dancers look great not only on your resume, but they also provide invaluable experience working in dance and theater from many angles.
There are many different types of volunteer opportunities for dancers; the most commonly chosen volunteer activities are teaching children to dance and working at theaters as ushers, wardrobe help or ticket sales agents. It all depends on what is available in your area and what it is that you would like to gain from your time volunteering.
Weekly Volunteer Activities
A little research of the dance schools in your area should reveal a few possibilities for volunteering options specifically for dancers. For example, many studios offer an exchange situation where you are responsible for helping a senior teacher teach young children's dance classes or you are responsible for answering the phone two evenings a week. In many cases, you will be rewarded for such services by being granted free dance lessons at the school. Free dance lessons is not the only benefit though; whether you call it volunteer work or simply 'work', it will look good on your resume as well as getting you tuition-free classes.
Another great way to get involved in the performing arts community is to volunteer at area theaters. Theaters are almost always looking for ushers and other types of helpers. Whether you help backstage with the wardrobe department or you help people find their seats, you'll be gaining valuable experience inside the theater. Many performers find it fun to do this kind of 'behind-the-scenes' work, and it certainly gives one a better overall view of how the theater operates from front door to load-in dock. Again the perks are multifold: you get to see many shows for free, as well as putting the experience on your resume.
Intensive Volunteer Opportunities for Dancers
If you'd like to spend a summer doing volunteer work or interning, there are many exciting possibilities available. You can go to the American Dance Festival and spend the summer interning or you can even go abroad and teach dancing to children. Abroad opportunities generally take up more time, but they also offer the invaluable experience of being abroad and of learning another language. Abroad opportunities are ideal for dancers looking to take a year off in between high school and college.
Opportunities in the U.S.
In addition to the informal options mentioned above, dancers living in bigger cities will have many opportunities for volunteer activities. Look up your area online, and even if the website of a nearby facility does not mention needing volunteers, it can never hurt to send in a solicitation letter. You might just find yourself volunteering for the New York City Ballet! You never know, so just send in your letter asking about volunteer opportunities and stating why you are interested in volunteering and what your dance experience is.
A sample of places who DO advertise volunteer activities online:
- American Dance Festival Internships: Spend the summer interning at the American Dance Festival in North Carolina
- American Dance Festival Volunteers: Volunteer for various duties at the American Dance Festival in North Carolina
- Ballet Austin Guild Volunteers: Various volunteer opportunities in the ballet world of Austin
- Mosaic Dance Theater Company: Volunteer and apprentice positions in Glen Ridge, New Jersey
If you'd like to take a year off to experience something totally new, one of the opportunities below might be ideal. Most opportunities abroad require a minimum of three months' commitment, but can go as long as a year in most circumstances. These activities look fantastic on your resume and build your dance experience as well as your international perspective and foreign language abilities.
- Philippines Dance Initiative: Volunteer opportunities range from raising money (at home in the U.S.) to send to build a dance studio on location, to traveling to the destination to teach children at the facility.
- Outreach International: Choose your destination country and then browse available placements. There are plenty of opportunities for dance instructors abroad.
Of course, this list is not exhaustive; many more opportunities exist, in your area and around the world.