Dancer Transitions: Kara Wilkes

Kara Wilkes

Kara Wilkes

We are so pleased to announce that 4dancers has partnered up with what we consider to be a wonderful group, Career Transition For Dancers. Over the coming months you will begin seeing stories such as the one below–from dancers who are working with this organization to explore options that they may never have otherwise considered. When you finish reading, be sure to visit CTFD’s site to hear “the rest of the story”. 

Today we are hearing from Kara Wilkes, who has danced with Alonzo King LINES Ballet, and is starting another journey… 

I feel fortunate to say that my professional dance career is over twelve years old now. For the past year and a half I’ve danced for Alonzo King LINES Ballet based out of San Francisco. However, it was during the very start of my career that Mr. King and I first crossed paths.

My first job, Milwaukee Ballet Company, hired me right out of high school; Mr. King was brought in to set one of his ballets: “Map”. He invited me to attend his professional workshop in San Francisco where I was offered a position with his company. At the time, I was still uncertain about which style of dance I wanted to do. My training had been mostly classical and Lines’ movement is very contemporary. Instead of taking Mr. King’s offer, I chose to continue exploring.

For the next ten years, I danced with mixed repertoire companies. This took me to Madrid, Spain with Ballet Victor Ullate, and to North Carolina Dance Theatre in Charlotte. Throughout these jobs, I was able to experience a variety of styles, work with different choreographers, and achieve more versatility. Eventually, I joined LINES Ballet. The timing was finally right in my career; I felt ready to explore Mr. King’s style and philosophies. I suppose you could say I’ve come full circle.

While dancing with NCDT in Charlotte, I attended a Career Transition For Dancers’ Workshop and learned of their wonderful resources. A few years later, I began speaking with one of their career counselors, Maryellen Langhout, in the Chicago office. Her advice was invaluable. Ms. Langhout helped ease my anxieties about life after dance and made suggestions pertaining to my personal interests.

Then, in Fall of 2012, I returned to school in hopes of earning my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Attending college has been a long-time goal of mine. Financial support from the Caroline H. Newhouse Fund helped me jump-start things; I currently attend St. Mary’s College of California’s L.E.A.P. program while dancing with LINES full-time. I look forward to keeping in touch with Ms. Langhout in the future, for she opened up my eyes to exciting new career possibilities and which paths will get me there.

Read more about Kara’s journey at Career Transition For Dancers

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Catherine L. Tully is the owner/editor at To learn more about Catherine and the other contributors at 4dancers, see the "Contributor" tab at the top of the page. To reach Catherine, send an e-mail to info (at) 4dancers (dot) org

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