I have been surprised lately to discover that many parents still view a dance career and education negatively, like it's not a "real" career, like a starving artist. I see this in the studio where I teach - I have some very talented, promising students with a passion and desire to dance, but no support from their parents to make it into a career. The parents want them to take a more traditional route, feeling that it is much more stable and better-paying. Having gone through that myself and knowing how incredibly difficult it is to not be able to follow your heart and dreams, I feel for these dancers. But, I know at the same time the parents feel they are helping their children and doing what is best for them. I think if they just had a little more education as to all the different paths a career in dance can take, they might feel differently.
The traditional paths that we think of most include being a ballerina, owning a dance studio, and teaching. But what most dance-outsiders don't know is there is an array of options for someone with some dance education and talent. Getting a degree in dance is a great start as it will give you the connections and tools to start a solid career.
In this article from Dance Magazine, Beyond Performance: Alternative Careers in Dance, writer Karen Hildebrand shares what some professional dancers did after their dance performance careers ended. These are careers that you could also enter to start your career in the dance field. One career this article doesn't mention is teaching dance in public schools including dance education programs, coordinating the dance teams, and teaching at performing arts high schools. Other careers include dance therapy, yoga instructor, gym instructor, physical therapist, and college dance professor.