Arts graduate study brings hope, but fails to address tough issue

In case you missed it, I wrote an article about a study released by Indiana University regarding arts graduates. The study of 13,600 arts graduates found that 92 percent found some type of employment in their field within one year of graduation. Those surveyed range from theater to architecture graduates.

While the study revealed mostly positive statistics, as it was conducted by the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project, it ceased to take an important area into consideration —  artists’ pay level and revenue satisfaction. About 30 percent of formal professional artists surveyed indicated that debt, including student loans was a reason for pursuing a different career path.

I interviewed Jamie Buxton, a graduate of University of Central Oklahoma, and David Herendeen, an OCU professor for the article, which examined pursuing an acting/music theater degree in Oklahoma.

To view the full article published in The Oklahoman and Look at OKC, visit


Radio City Rockette encourages dancers to train during summer

Elizabeth Bork, Radio City Rockette

We’ve all heard the phrase: “Sit back, relax and enjoy the show.” It can be tempting for performing arts students to do this during the summer months. But not keeping in shape by actually being in the show or training can hinder your growth as a dancer.

Elizabeth Bork, Radio City Rockette, said not dancing or keeping in shape during the summer can cause dancers to take a few steps backward in their training.

“From experience, I know that it’s really hard to come back once you take a break,” she said. “If you don’t stay in shape during your break, you waste the first few months of your return trying to get back to where you left off before your break.”

Bork said during her off season, she likes to mix her training up.

“My workout of choice is running, but I also do a lot of swimming, kickboxing, cyclying, yoga, and pilates,” she said. “Although dance class, ballet in particular, is the thing that keeps me in the best shape.”

Bork said keeping in shape is important to her because Radio City Rockettes are required to audition annually.

“There are no guarantees,” she said. “Which makes every woman so grateful and appreciative for their jobs.”

Students who make specific dance levels at the end of a semester at OCU also are not guaranteed to be placed in the level the following semester. Dance performance seniors also must meet the dance department’s dance level requirements before applying for graduation. Not keeping in shape during the summer can be a factor in dancers not progressing  or moving down in their levels.

Ali Boolani, adjunct faculty/strength coach, said the biggest misconception regarding fitness is that workouts of longer duration result in losing more weight.

“Quality is better than quantity,” he said.

Boolani offers fitness tips for dancers in this video:

For specific cardiovascular and strength exercise ideas, visit Dance Spirit’s fitness article page.

To see what some performing arts majors are doing during the summer, click here.