A world-first government program will assist Australian dance artists to better plan and manage their professional careers.

The Securing Career Opportunities and Professional Employment (SCOPE) program provides career, professional development and education support for dancers throughout their artistic careers and beyond.

Twenty-five dance artists and choreographers have been selected to take part in the SCOPE program for 2007.

'The average dancer retires at the age of 30. While many continue their careers in the industry, others choose to transition into other fields,’ SCOPE program ambassador, Dein Perry, said.

'We hope that this world-leading program will provide many dancers with the skills they need to manage their careers effectively.’

SCOPE is a partnership between the Australia Council for the Arts and the Australian Sports Commission, with the support of the national dance industry body Ausdance.

The program is based on the highly successful National Coach and Athlete Career and Education (NCACE) program, which helps 3000 Australian athletes annually to develop their career within and beyond their sport.

'With their similar physical demands, the career trajectory of professional dancers is very similar to athletes,’ Mr Perry said.

'Through career counselling, education, networking and other support opportunities, participating dancers and choreographers will now have tools to take the next step in their careers.’

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