A Dancer Makes A Career Pivot

Zankel Scholar Hannah Rich Exits the Stage for the Front Office

As a teenager, Hannah Rich dedicated 36 hours a week training to be a professional ballerina. Her passion combined with all of those arduous sessions spent on pointe in the dance studio soon paid off. Five years ago, the Miami native achieved her dream and joined the Joffrey Ballet Concert Group in New York City.

But during a lengthy recovery from a knee injury, Rich filled in as the dance group’s administrative assistant and made a surprising discovery. She had just as much passion for dance off the stage as she did on the stage.

“There’s not always clear, direct communication between the administrative side and the artistic side and that can cause problems,” says 26-year-old Rich. “I realized that I was good at it. I didn’t have to dance to be in the dance world.”

Once she set her sights on serving as an executive administrator for a dance company, Rich faced a dilemma. Should she apply for administrative jobs and work her way up? Or should she pursue a master’s degree first? Determining that she could gain a strong background in fundraising, marketing and public relations more quickly through a master’s program, she applied to Teachers College.

Much to her delight, she was accepted into the arts administration program and also named the Kenneth & Anna Zankel Scholar. The new endowed scholarship, created by Kenneth and Anna Zankel, supports masters or doctoral degree students in either Arts Administration or Art and Art Education.

“The scholarship reaffirmed for me that I was making the right choice because I wasn’t the only one investing in my future,” Rich says. “It felt like TC was investing in my future with me.”

From the beginning, Rich was impressed by TC’s interdisciplinary approach. At her first event, she met dancers, visual artists, actors, singers, and non-artists interested in working in the arts. Jennifer Lena, associate professor of arts administration and acting program coordinator, explained that they’d been chosen not only for their individual achievements but for how they would fit together and collaborate beyond TC.

“The idea is that the arts is a very collaborative industry and I love that about TC,” Rich says.

Outside of the classroom, Rich is getting hands-on experience through an internship in strategy and business development at the New York City Ballet. In her spare moments, she updates her website project called The UDancer (www.theudancer.com), an online resource designed to help young dancers decide between dancing professionally out of high school or going to college.

“There’s a real lack of resources for young dancers who are going through that struggle,” says Rich, who completed undergraduate work at Princeton University first. “The natural progression in dance is very different from other careers.”

Mariko Thompson Beck

Published Friday, Apr. 1, 2016

A Dancer Makes A Career Pivot

Zankel Scholar Hannah Rich Exits the Stage for the Front Office

As a teenager, Hannah Rich dedicated 36 hours a week training to be a professional ballerina. Her passion combined with all of those arduous sessions spent on pointe in the dance studio soon paid off. Five years ago, the Miami native achieved her dream and joined the Joffrey Ballet Concert Group in New York City.

But during a lengthy recovery from a knee injury, Rich filled in as the dance group’s administrative assistant and made a surprising discovery. She had just as much passion for dance off the stage as she did on the stage.

“There’s not always clear, direct communication between the administrative side and the artistic side and that can cause problems,” says 26-year-old Rich. “I realized that I was good at it. I didn’t have to dance to be in the dance world.”

Once she set her sights on serving as an executive administrator for a dance company, Rich faced a dilemma. Should she apply for administrative jobs and work her way up? Or should she pursue a master’s degree first? Determining that she could gain a strong background in fundraising, marketing and public relations more quickly through a master’s program, she applied to Teachers College.

Much to her delight, she was accepted into the arts administration program and also named the Kenneth & Anna Zankel Scholar. The new endowed scholarship, created by Kenneth and Anna Zankel, supports masters or doctoral degree students in either Arts Administration or Art and Art Education.

“The scholarship reaffirmed for me that I was making the right choice because I wasn’t the only one investing in my future,” Rich says. “It felt like TC was investing in my future with me.”

From the beginning, Rich was impressed by TC’s interdisciplinary approach. At her first event, she met dancers, visual artists, actors, singers, and non-artists interested in working in the arts. Jennifer Lena, associate professor of arts administration and acting program coordinator, explained that they’d been chosen not only for their individual achievements but for how they would fit together and collaborate beyond TC.

“The idea is that the arts is a very collaborative industry and I love that about TC,” Rich says.

Outside of the classroom, Rich is getting hands-on experience through an internship in strategy and business development at the New York City Ballet. In her spare moments, she updates her website project called The UDancer (www.theudancer.com), an online resource designed to help young dancers decide between dancing professionally out of high school or going to college.

“There’s a real lack of resources for young dancers who are going through that struggle,” says Rich, who completed undergraduate work at Princeton University first. “The natural progression in dance is very different from other careers.”

Mariko Thompson Beck

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