I have spent the last two weekends judging dance competitions and it has made me feel so lucky for the training I had growing up and the training I chose for continuing education in college. It’s a tiring process of watching lazy people try to make themselves feel better by winning awards that are handed to them for doing nothing but being horrible and lazy at dance. It shows them that they do not have to put the time and work in but they can still get a high gold. A very frustrating situation.
i am not that old (yet.) but i AM old enough to see a difference in generations of dance. this current generation is mind blowingly talented but scarily missing the work ethics of my slightly less talented generation as well as those that came before us. as most of you will dance for my generation or the generations prior; here is what was expected of us that we naturally and collectively, expect from you. NEVER mark. why pay for a class and mark until you get into groups? groups occur for MAYBE 10 minutes. most of which you’ll spend trying to figure out the parts you’ve been marking. don’t sit. don’t yawn. be on time. if anything, be early. touching your toes and sitting in a grande plie 2nd for a minute does not a sufficient warm up make. put your phones AWAY. be hungry to know everyTHING about your art; ESPECIALLY its history. you would not be here without those that came before you. you MUST be able to hold an intelligent conversation about the art form that you have chosen to make your life’s purpose. if you miss rehearsal, get with someone prior to learn the choreography you don’t know. if you don’t make the youtube video, don’t get the job, or don’t get called out for the “special” group; it doesn’t mean you stop coming to class. in fact, the very opposite. you KEEP SHOWING UP. perseverance and SHOWING UP is often how a job is booked. if a dance doesn’t win, it doesn’t mean it’s bad. if a choreographer isn’t on SYTYCD, it doesn’t mean they aren’t worth working with. if a teacher can’t book you something, it doesn’t mean their class isn’t worth taking. know loyalty. ALWAYS remember where you came from and who got you there. be humble. even if that older dancer can’t turn as many times as you; there’s a reason why they’ve booked so many jobs and are STILL working. respect and learn from them. be responsible for your energy. come to class to be inspired but be responsible for what you bring to the table too. never treat the role of an understudy as a waste of time. it is often a fruitful opportunity of a lifetime. be self motivated and self driven. do your homework. go to ballet. go to african. go to modern. go to EVERYTHING. the class and/or teacher that challenges you most; is usually where and who you are growing most from. if you’re injured, be smart. know what it is to work internally; without expectation of reward or instant gratification. be open to criticism. be OPEN (period.) if you commit to something follow it through with enthusiasm or drop out completely. we are in a line of work that people throw their life, their savings, and their whole heart into. don’t destroy it by giving anybody less than your best. don’t be SHADY. if you know someone say, “HI” regardless of whether it makes you look good in that moment. if you see a video you dig on Facebook, like it. if you like a video on YouTube, share it. if someone is better than you in class, shout out a “werk” and study the hell out of ‘em. and finally, know that dance does not come over night. or over months. or even years. it happens throughout a LIFETIME process that is to be adored despite struggle. love every second of it for genuine reason and you will probably find yourself doing all this naturally.
Settling in to the city… Enjoying the fact that we can get anything at any time of day, we can walk almost everywhere, the weather has been great, live music all the time, seeing friends old and new, learning new things everyday….
If you expect nothing from anybody, you’re never disappointed.
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar (via bookmania)