Many dancers dream of moving on to bigger and better things after high school or college, but how do you actually make the transition from a college town like, Athens Ohio, to New York or Chicago?
OU Class of 2014 alum, Emma Rumberg, has been preparing to make her move to NYC since her freshman year of college. The summer after her freshman year of college, she attended the New York Summer Dance Intensive at Dance New Amsterdam and subleased an apartment in Spanish Harlem.
“I wanted to experience what it would be like to live here (NYC) and have time to explore different areas,” Rumberg said.
Rumberg went back to the city every chance she got to keep expanding her knowledge of the city and the dancers there, as well as to maintain relationships she had already formed.
Once OU Class of 2014 alum, Liz Conway, decided that she wanted to move to Chicago, she started doing research on auditions and workshops that she wanted to attend.
“I started to apply for jobs as well so I could have some interviews set up once I arrived,” Conway said.
Emily Stepleton, also an OU Class of 2014 alum, sent out resumes for work as a Pilates instructor before she arrived in Chicago in order to try to secure a job before making the move.
All three alum stressed the importance of doing research before making the move to a big city and making connections in the community after arriving.
Rumberg is currently working with Xan Burley and Alex Springer, choreographers for The Median Movement, on their new evening length work entitled Jack Rally. Rumberg met Burley and Springer at OU when they did a guest artist residency. Keeping in contact with older dancers and other professional connections can really pay off in the long run.
Having a job on the side in a dance related field is also a must. Stepleton works as a Pilates and group fitness instructor in Chicago and Conway works as an administrative intern for Visceral Dance Chicago and works for audience services at The Harris Theater in Chicago to supplement her apprenticeship with the Dance COLEctive with Margi Cole. Rumberg was recently hired as the receptionist/substitute teacher at Williamsburg Movement and Arts Center; an after school program for children located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
However, moving to a new city can be scary and the transition may difficult at first.
“Unlike college, in which social situations, safety, comfort with your surroundings is created almost instantly, it is much more difficult to find my ‘place’ here. I am not living in a dorm filled with others my age searching for friendship. I am not eating in a dining hall and attending classes in my major in which I pass by the same familiar faces every day,” Stepleton said.
While the transition may be difficult, it is also important to take chances and take the plunge. If the city life appeals to you, give it a shot! Visit friends living in cities, see shows, take classes, and take advantage of all the opportunities that are out there.