1 Goucher College (UNITED STATES)
2 University of Nevada, Reno (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 1817-1826
ISBN: 978-84-608-2657-6
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2015
Location: Seville, Spain
Classroom approaches in many postsecondary education institutions in the United States have begun to focus on real-world situations and contexts since the 1980s, and a degree in dance is no exception. Researchers such as Verner (1993) and Severance and Starr (2011) have studied a variety of experiential education approaches including study abroad, internships, service learning and practicum (Katula & Threnhauser, 1999). What has not been studied in depth is how these experiential education opportunities for students of dance help to develop an entrepreneurial orientation to support their professional lives after graduation.

This case study explores the experiences of Net Generation dance majors at the higher education level and their development of an entrepreneurial orientation to their professional lives. The methodology uses in-depth interviews to explore the lived experiences of a group of six recent graduates who focus their current dance profession in a variety of entrepreneurial endeavors. The research design traces the entrepreneurial orientation through the lenses of participants’ classroom and student activities (experiential education) and experiences immediately following college and how these impacted participants’ professional careers.

Four consistent themes emerged from this study on how key experiences during college developed the groups’ entrepreneurial orientation:
1) Entrepreneurship is about solving one’s own problems, working on one’s own and finding an ability to put creative ideas into motion.
2) Studying abroad during college gave the courage and willingness of the dance major to take risks in activities in careers.
3) Classes in choreography provided the dance major with practical experiences in solving problems.
4) College was more than learning about dance. It was also a means to learn how to manage life choices through networking and how to defend personal and professional choices.

Conclusions of the study highlight the need to balance greater life know-how and networking opportunities with the dance curriculum during college. The findings from this study also brought out the understanding that success in dance after college is developed when students learn to take risks and coordinate projects in a way that solve problems through practical experiences. Through these self-realizations along with an ability to network with others through collaborations and defend choices were taught, dance major graduates reported they gained an entrepreneurial orientation that prepared them for their professional lives.
Entrepreneurial, dance, arts, liberal arts, entrepreneurship, experiential education, entrepreneurial orientation.