Ten days ago, I packed up my balled up leotards, endless amount of socks and my foam roller and headed to the city that never sleeps, where I would begin my summer dancing journey at the Summer Professional Semester at Broadway Dance Center in New York City. As I excitedly walked through the red doors of the spacious five-studio heaven, forty-six excited students along with an inviting and encouraging staff who would soon become my new dance family greeted me. Although I was ready to show my passion on the dance floor, the administrators of the program sat us down and presented us with multiple seminars regarding professionalism. There I was guided through these presentations with tips for success in life and in dance.
More often than not, dancers look at other dancers with jealousy and envy. They wish for people’s failure only so that they can get ahead. Another common flaw of dancers is that they do not treat themselves with respect, let alone their peers. Dancers’ bodies are an instrument; therefore we need to keep it in the best shape possible, both mentally and physically. For all of those aspiring dancers out there, I am here to tell you that if you dream it, you can achieve it. The training and technique is the easy part; the most challenging aspect of making it as a successful dancer is staying positive and professional. Here are some key phrases and tips for ultimate success in the dance field:
- “Life is the Audition”: You could be holding the door for an agent coming to observe your dance class tomorrow; you never know who you will cross paths with that could change your life. So you better put that smile on and start spewing out those compliments.
- Be a well educated dancer: Taking a class with a new ballet teacher? Indecisive about whether to take jazz or tap class? Research research research!
- Resilience is more important than talent: If you are ever tired, frustrated, or just plain want to leave class and go home to your bed, say to yourself, “I am happy to be here and ready to work!” Encourage other friends who are feeling the same way, or say it to at least five people before you walk into class. It will make class a much more positive and high-energy experience!
- Clap it up! Otherwise known as “clapter” (get it…laughter?) Clap, hoot and holler for your amazing peers when they get up to dance! Showing your support and love for them will make class much more exciting, fun and successful. Of course, hold on the clapter in ballet, please.
- Being perfect is boring! You are original; there is no one like you in this world. So flaunt it! Accepting this and being eager to improve is one of the greatest qualities of a professional dancer. Perform with confidence and be happy to take corrections from teachers by actively responding with a “thank you” for their gift to you.
- Breakdown in a Breakthrough: Slept through your alarm? Forgot to do your research? Late to class? Don’t blame the bus or your dog, no one in the professional world cares. Own up to your mistakes and take responsibility for your actions! You will be treated with much more respect if you admit that it was your own fault that you were late and it will never happen again.
- Power Stance: Here’s another positivity booster: body language is everything. Studies show that just doing a power stance makes you feel more dominant and in charge of your life. When you are feeling small, weak or doubtful, stand up, raise your hands in the air, open your chest and scream, “I am powerful and limitless!” Yes, you may look crazy, but that grumpy old man sitting next to you on the subway will wish he was you, and feel a lot smaller than you just felt ten seconds before.
So there ya have it, dancers. Yes, training is important, however not nearly as important as showing that you are a trustworthy, reliable and happy professional. I would hire a girl who can do one pirouette and shows that she is happy to be here and ready to work over a dancer who does thirty-two pirouettes without even a smile or a blink of passion any day.
My experience at Broadway Dance Center as been mind-blowing and truly incredible thanks to an amazing support system of loving and genuine (not to mention talented) dancers who are powerful and limitless in my mind. The dancing has only begun, and I cannot wait to share a summer of movement and memories at Broadway Dance Center.
Meghan McFerran, BFA class of 2017