Stereotypes and misconceptions are bound to arise with any group. It's easy to say that all "___-ers do ___..." But this is rude and wrong and at times, downright insulting! You're attributing a specific trait to an entire demographic based on assumptions and fallacies. So I'm here, ragingly justice-hungry, to bust some dancer-myths that I've heard floatin' around.*clears throat* AHEM HEM –
A recurring and appropriate mantra in the community is "stay humble."
Dance, by nature, requires a certain level of confidence.
In order to express yourself with your body, to put your artistic thoughts "out there," means you have to respect your own material and talents as being worth expressing and sharing.
That being said, it's crucial to stay grounded while doing so.
I do know a few who are too "into themselves."
But the majority of the dancers I know are so modest, hard-working, and quietly confident.
It's okay to recognize your skills, pay tribute to your vision, or to even self-promote and market yourself.
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Heck, it'd be wrong to sell yourself short! And it's extremely unfair to call this being self-absorbed.
It's scary enough to share yourself because the content (dance) means so much. But it's scarier to share yourself when the act of sharing itself might be judged.
Respect that everyone has the right to pay tribute to their art.
Sure, some are guilty of dramatically overdoing it, but remember that most of us are just trying to navigate through the delicate boundary between "self-assured" and "cocky."
I can definitely see where this comes from.
We are movers, performers, actors. People who use our bodies and faces to show how we feel. Colorful and hilarious. Natural attention-lovers.
...For the most part.
While a huge percentage of dancers I know are, indeed, outgoing and extroverted, a surprising number of others definitely are not.
I myself am an introvert who puts in a lot of effort to be successful in an extrovert-driven scene. And I know a lot of you reading this can relate.
So much of what we do incorporates a social element to it, so I feel compelled to call on my friendly/silly side: in class, at rehearsals, competitions, and other dance-events.
And that's not a bad thing! It forces me out of my comfort zone.
It's not in my nature to initiate contact, but my desire to meet and talk to and laugh with other people pushes me to embody this image of a hyper-social butterfly.
But when you think about dance, itself,
it is a really personal thing.
Most of us go through the actual DANCE side of dance alone.
Whether it's finding a song and starting to connect to it, choreographing a piece, or even learning in class, or reading this article!
It is YOUR journey; you're just sharing it with others. Even your teammates or closest dancer friends, are added aspects to the main focus of your passion: dance.
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How we act in specific situations is not who we are, comprehensively.
While many dancers are very social and extroverted, those who are more reserved.. oh we still here!
Don't feel like you have to be someone you're not in this community. Do you.
Stop right there.
It is tough for younger dancers to balance their school/future career aspirations with the demands of their current passion.
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But there are so many people who have done amazing things outside of dance.
I know students who are pursuing double majors with 3 part-time jobs and making time for their significant other. Or a full-time career while directing while this and that and everything else. Like what?! How??? But they DO it.
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And for those who are more dance-focused, what’s so wrong with that? As long as you’re not living on the streets and letting the rest of your life slip away, it’s everyone’s personal prerogative how much they choose to invest in their passion. And you really don’t know anyone’s full story enough to judge.
AND, dance is a time-sensitive thing. We won’t be able to do this when we’re 70. (Like Ed Sheeran says- OUR LEGS WON’T WORK LIKE THEY USED TO BEFORE)
Most of us are indulging while we can, while trying to cater to the societal demands of a more conventional way to success.
Just keep in mind that it is not your place to impose your ideals on fellow dancers.
You’re not anyone’s mom. (Unless you are, then hi mom!!)
Hmmm. I take personal offense to this.
I have put in a lot of time and effort into dancing. Whether it was hours in a parking lot or money to take a class, I’ve happily made sacrifices for it.
Although you can say that the rewards are immediate and fleeting (“it’s just fun for now”)- there are SO many lasting, impactful things I’ve taken from dance.
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For one, I’ve gained a crap ton of confidence. As mentioned, my introverted nature blossomed to a point where I’m comfortable being myself in otherwise anxiety-evoking situations.
Second, I’ve met people who’ve touched me, moved me, inspired me, saved me.
Not to be dramatic, but having a passion and a “family” that supports it- this can do WONDERS for your soul. And I know this testimony is not exclusive to me. I’ve seen people break and bend and heal and thrive through dance.
Relationships are everything. Relationships are forever. I dare anyone to try and tell me this wasn’t worth it.
Third, aside from the more internal effects that take place through dance, so many dancers emerge from the scene to hone another skill that’s related to dance.
Cinematography? Event planning? BLOG WRITING??
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Maybe dancing itself isn’t the destination, but relevant experiences can definitely be the vehicle to take you places professionally, or just to grow as a person.
Think about all the things that dance gives you, outside of dance. “Dance won’t get you anywhere”? Au contraire, it has taken me places nothing else in my life has.
Would a "lazy" person do.... THIS?!?!?!!
How is getting up to move your whole body ...lazy?! It's like the exact opposite. Next.
See Related Article: How To Take Care Of Your Body As A Dancer
Let's talk about basic human nature / sex drives. And how you don't have to be a “dancer” to enjoy the horizontal mambo. Wink ;D
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EVERYONE'S thirsty. Next.
There’s always going to be an element of competition to what we do. But even in huge dance "competitions,” everyone stays supportive and respectful of each others’ work.
The “competition,” if anything, is one of the least important aspects of these events.
We’re there to showcase to and marvel at each other, to do what we love, meet new people, share the exhilaration of performing…
And how is it even fair to compare or compete?
We’re all so different, as individual dancers or teams.
And I think there is a greater understanding and appreciation for that now, that we focus less on the winning and more on the collective love for dance.
See Related Article: What Dance Competitions Really Mean For Dancers
No one is competing against anyone but themselves- and the sooner people get over that mental construct of being “better than,” they can see true sense of joy in what we do.
Sure, there are going to be in environments where people are selectively social.
But that’s because friend groups already exist and people are familiar and comfortable with their $qUaD. It’s only natural!
But really, the community has such a warm, inclusive atmosphere- you just have to be open to it.
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Um hello?! It's called a COMMUNITY for a reason!!!
It's important to be mindful that, although we all dance, and dance alludes to a lot of personality factors and behaviors, we are individuals that are unique and multi-faceted. Remember this before you make a "dancist" comment, or take offense to anothers'.What is something you've heard about "dancers" that gets under your skin? Share with us by leaving a comment below!Don't fall into the "lazy" dancer stereotype! Keep training hard – STEEZY Studio offers over 50 classes that you can take anytime, anywhere.This article was originally published on March 8, 2015,