Roger Plaut, who danced with the Joffrey Ballet and the Washington Ballet, works as a scientist for the Food and Drug Administration. Here, he poses with a petri dish containing E. coli.
For decades, most dance companies have pushed dancers to keep performing as long as they are physically able. Discussing “What will we do next?” was taboo. Slowly, that attitude is changing, says Elizabeth LaClause, a spokeswoman for the nonprofit Career Transition for Dancers. “We tell dancers, ‘Take those classes while you are still dancing,’ ” LaClause said.