photo by Ewa Krasucka

SUMMARY OF THE CAREER TRANSITION PROGRAM
EVALUATION PROCEEDINGS

The Institute of Music and Dance in cooperation with MARECO Poland – centre for market and public opinion research, carried out a research process aimed at evaluating the Career Transition Program for Dancers realised in 2015 by the Institute. The research process was carried out between from June to September 2018. The Institute in cooperation with MARECO developed an evaluation questionnaire, which was used to carry out a survey among individual dance artists who work in professional contemporary and ballet dance companies in Poland. The survey was also carried out among executive directors of these professional contemporary and ballet dance companies.

We received the total number of 281 questionnaires filled in anonymously by dancers and 15 questionnaires filled in anonymously by executive directors of these professional contemporary and ballet dance companies.

The analysis of the questionnaires that were filled in by respondents has proven that most of the dancers, who work in professional dance companies in Poland, are aware of the existence Career Transition Program for Dancers. The awareness of the fact that the Program operates in the Polish dance landscape, has proven to be higher among older respondents. The vast majority of respondents have stated that the Program is necessary and helpful. Respondents have chosen scholarships for career transition as the most recognisable and most valuable form of support for dancers. The second most recognisable and most valuable form of support for dancers chosen by respondents was – professional help of career counsellors and their professional advice provided for dancers in the process of decision-making about a new career path.

Dancers-respondents who are over 30 years old have proven to be more interested in and more aware of the Program’s content. Most probably, such an outcome is rooted in dancers’ concern, voiced in the questionnaires. The dancers’ concern circulated around the presumption that joining the Program (no matter what form of support they will be granted) is equal to dancers’ agreeing to end their stage career or that it may speed up the end of their career.

More than half of respondents are optimistic about the prospect of finding themselves in a different professional reality after the end of the stage career. This does not mean, however, that dancers are not interested in continuing their professional careers in the dance field.

Research results point out also that not all of the respondents consider themselves well informed about the Program. A number of respondents have also highlighted that their knowledge of the way the Program functions and of its offer is not full. It turned out also, that in some cases, the rules of the Program were wrongly interpreted by respondents. Furthermore, some of the respondents have stated that they have never come across the Program’s website (www.ideedlatanca.pl). A number of respondents said that they are familiar with the website but they do not visit it.

Respondents learn about the Program mainly from meetings with Program representatives and from other dancers. Some of the respondents also pointed out that it is necessary for the Institute of Music and Dance to make use of social media in order to communicate and promote the Program.

The results of the research carried out among executive directors of professional dance companies support the main conclusions of the survey conducted among dancers. The vast majority of respondents in both groups believe that it is state institutions that should come up with ideas for systemic solutions of the issue of ending the stage career. Executive directors of professional dance companies consider the solutions proposed within the Program as important and helpful. They differ, however, in their responses to the issue of retirement. Directors of professional dance companies, more often than the dancers, indicated in their questionnaires that early retirement is the only solution for the end of the stage career. They also mentioned that the Program does not compensate for the deprivation of acquired rights in the form of early retirement.

As part of the programme:

- we held 25 meetings in 14 cities nationwide,

- we held 25 workshops in 8 cities,

- we held counselling consultations for 264 dancers,

- 86 dancers received scholarships for their individual career, transition plans,

- 30 dancers have already successfully completed their transition plans.

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