My name is Krista Grammerstorf and I am a second semester senior at Muhlenberg College with majors in Dance- Choreography and Business- Arts Administration. My long-term career goal is to own a Dance Studio. In order to achieve this objective, I believe that I need 5-10 years’ experience working for a company where I can both contribute and develop the skills required to run a business. My three careers which I am pursuing include being a dance performer, arts administrator, and business owner. I have looked forward to developing a career plan leveraging the many resources which are available at both Muhlenberg College and through outside sources such as LinkedIn and Indeed.com.

            My experiences at Muhlenberg College and outside work will provide a good foundation for my career search. While at Muhlenberg College, my artistic experiences concentrated in choreography where I had the opportunity to choreograph my own concert dance work, responsible for casting and leading dancers. I have also had experience performing in three faculty and eight student choreographed dance concerts. Furthermore, the dance program provided tremendous exposure to opportunities for me to develop networks in the industry. I am planning to leverage my contacts such as Handshake and The Muhlenberg Network to identify specific companies for me to research for full-time employment. 

            My work experiences over the past four years helped me to build strong skills in the areas of leadership, training and developing others and problem solving. In addition to my course studies at Muhlenberg, I applied for and was accepted to a position with Steps In Time Dance Studio in Allentown, PA. My responsibilities here include developing course curriculum for 60 young adults aged 7 to 18, assessing capability and determining weekly performance gaps, preparing the students for competition and providing 1:1 teaching to advance specific careers. I also had the opportunity to teach as part of an internship at Firebird Theater in Phoenixville, PA during the Summer 2019. In this capacity, I had to lead and give instruction to over 40 children. My biggest weakness is that I need to learn how to consciously make choices on where to focus. I tend to take on a lot of responsibilities and need to be more selective of what I take onto my plate. My goal will be to finally have a better work/life balance where I make time for myself to complete hobbies and activities other than dance.

            My priority for my first career position is to work for a company where I can continue to advance my artistic capabilities but also learn the business side of a company.  I realize that it takes significant capital to start your own business and therefore a key objective of mine is to save as much money as I can during the first 5 years of my career.  In order to accomplish that mission, I would like to work for a large to mid-size company that offers great benefits such as health care, 401K matching or profit-sharing as well as the opportunity to continue my education in the evenings or on weekends if I so choose.  My preference is to work for a company that offers salary as well as a bonus based on how well I contribute to the success of the department or company. I would like to work in a mid to large size city that has a good transportation system and can afford me the opportunity to continue my cultural interest in the arts.  I do not have a preference between urban or suburban as I believe I can thrive in either environment. However, my geographical preferences are the Northeast, Southeast or Southwest. The only exception would be large Midwest cities such as Chicago which would fit into the characteristics I described previously.

            The industries I am interested in pursuing are Media (Alphabet, The Walt Disney Company, Comcast, 21st Century Fox, Facebook, Viacom) and Entertainment (Madison Square Garden, Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts International, Caesar’s Entertainment International, Wynn Resorts). In each of these companies, I would like to work in arts marketing or management development functions specifically in regard to entertainment. A performing artist in dance typically makes between $40-60k per year. Arts Administrators make about $100k a year.

Post-graduation my initial plan is to start performing in the entertainment industry-specifically dancing. During the day I would like to work part-time in an Arts Administration position. This could include working at a dance studio or dance competition. In the evenings I would enjoy getting to perform at various venues, including Disney and Universal Studios in Florida. In my free time I would continue to teach dance at a local studio in order to make additional money. Dancers typically live a short performance career as the body starts to break down due to the physical demand of movement. Once I am no longer able to perform, I will take all of my performance and administrative experiences and create my own dance business. I will share my knowledge to others in a dance studio setting.

            I have been networking the past two years with friends and business associates of my family. I have attended many information and alumni sessions from these companies. I have also utilized the career center to identify alumni who are working at these companies so I could gather more information on the culture of the companies and it was the best way for me to learn more about them. I also made time to go on LinkedIn for 1 hour per week to develop contacts at each of these companies. I have conducted several Zoom and in person meetings with working professionals to understand their own journeys with the companies I am interested in- Disney, cruiselines, exc.

            I have already developed a resume which I have been using for employment opportunities. I shared my resume with the career center in order to get feedback and improve the document. That feedback helped me to update my LinkedIn profile as well. I used my resume to further develop and edit my elevator speech which will come in handy as I further network and interview. I have already established a social media page on Instagram demonstrating my dance experiences. I use this to further showcase my practices and knowledge. My plan is to manage a dance studio I currently work at over the summer ’21 in order to gain hands on experience in running a dance studio. I plan to start applying for jobs and audition during the summer at various entertainment companies that are based in Orlando, Florida and move there in the fall.

This research in my career came from my Career Exploration Project in Operations and Information Systems course.

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