PLAN B By Asya Zlatina Dancers typically start training and even enter the professional world of dance when they are relatively young, especially when compared to other professions. We do what we do since BEFORE the college years, and feel strong and invincible with little thought to how our bodies will feel when we age. In this light, the most important piece of advice I would give to any young dancer in training to become a pro, is to pursue an education. Your higher education and a degree from an accredited school will be your lifeline for doing what you love. It will help you transition when you eventually have to move on from physical performance, and will give you greater possibilities for an upward financial mobility that you will not find in most dance companies. There is not much money in dance, especially concert dance, as compared to what other professionals make for a normal standard of living. Your salary raise will be limited despite the shifts of inflation and changes in the economy. As a result, many pros end up balancing several jobs, and at times can feel overwhelmed. But we owe it to ourselves to set ourselves up for success, as early as possible. Dancers are smart and dedicated, disciplined and diligent. These qualities help us excel at school and getting scholarships when we need them. Pair that professional dance experience with a supplemental career development. There are many ways to stay in dance and get a stable career out of it as well. Put your effort into making sure you have a future with necessary health benefits and a retirement plan. It is far away, but a certain part of life. The romantic notion of being a starving artist is infuriating to me and something I would love to see a change to in my lifetime. A higher education in the right field can spur this change. Having just completed my seventh season with my current company, and my ninth professional season overall, I already feel grateful to my mother for introducing this idea to me. Regardless of how talented you are, how many connections you have or how healthy you feel, a higher education allows you more opportunities for a good future. Living in the present, we are the future of dance. Our choices today will lay a foundation for the next generations. Let’s build this road together for better wages and more appreciation for our life’s work. Dancer: Marine de Vachon MakeUp: Shara Angelique Cofran Born in Moscow, Russia and immigrated to the United States in 1992. She trained throughout the DC/Baltimore area and graduated in May 2008 from Goucher College with a BA in Psychology and Dance. While at Goucher, she had the privilege of working with talented coaches and notable guest artists including Ann Hutchinson Guest, Tiffany Mills, Michael Vernon and Nilas Martins. Asya has performed at the Kennedy Center (ClancyWorks Dance Company) and the DiCapo in New York City (Nilas Martins Dance Company). She has received additional training under Roni Koresh, as well as ABT, Alonzo King and Maurya Kerr, Robert Moses, and NDT. In 2013 she graduated from Drexel University with an MS in Arts Administration. Asya joined Koresh Dance Company in 2008. Photographer : Juan Irrizary