Southern California – especially Los Angeles – seems like the epicenter for all things dance.
Dancers travel across the world to train with their favorite choreographers at studios like Movement Lifestyle, Millennium, and Snowglobe Perspective.
I regularly receive emails from dancers telling me about their dreams of moving here to audition for teams like GRV and Choreo Cookies, or to sign with an agency in Hollywood to get professional dance jobs.
While SoCal is indeed full of dancers, resources, and opportunities, it is not the only place you can achieve your dance goals.
You can become the dancer you want to be from wherever you are, even if you once thought you were at a disadvantage. Here's how.
When you take classes, join teams, and are constantly surrounded by other dancers, you're always being influenced by others – and this isn't always a good thing.
Dance, like fashion or music, has its trends.
When you're in the middle of it all (training at the same studio as everyone else or learning from the same choreographers), your style can easily become homogenized.
This is a common critique for dancers: that they "look like everyone else.
"When you live somewhere with little or no resources, you have no choice but to nurture your own unique voice.
You have to stimulate yourself and draw the most value from every learning experience you have.
Not having too much outside noise will help you grow into your own style.
Yes, there are a lot of opportunities in LA, but there are way more people competing for them too.
Although you may not have as many teams, studios, or gigs in your community, you can do more with the ones that do exist (given that you work hard and train).
You don't have to wait for someone else to give you opportunities, either – create them yourself.
Host your own events (dance competitions, shows, battles), found your own team, and create your own videos.
You can be the one giving yourself and other dancers in your community more opportunities.
This is exactly how SoCal dance teams and competitions started in the first place.
All the amazing things in our community came from a few people who were bold enough to act on their ideas.Be one of those bold people in your community.
Nowadays, we all kind of live in the same place: the internet.
The same way platforms like YouTube and Instagram let you discover so many of your favorite dancers, they can let you share your work with a wider audience as well.
So whether you live in Los Angeles or Kuwait, make quality dance content and post it.
You can record yourself freestyling, create choreography, make concept videos, and more.
In fact, a lot of people have no idea where STEEZY is based because our videos don't have anything to do with the city we're in, and everything to do with the quality dance and educational material we share.
That's the whole reason we built STEEZY Studio – so that people from all over the world can learn to dance.
Scott Forsyth is a huge advocate for building community in your hometown.
He is born, raised, and has made a career as a professional dancer, choreographer, teacher, and event producer – in Vancouver, Canada.
His team Brotherhood started as a personal project.
They practiced in the basement of a church, then went on to win international competitions like Hip Hop International, Body Rock, and VIBE.
Scott co-runs a competition called Artists Emerge that serves communities in cities across Canada.
And he also started Dancers Paradise, an annual event held in Cancun, Mexico full of competitions, showcases, workshops, and community building opportunities.
Scott has also traveled to over 30 different countries to teach his choreography.
And guess what? He never moved to LA. He lives in Vancouver with his wife.
(Scott shares more tips on building your community in his Field of Vision Program, available starting next month.)
Scott is just one example of how you can develop yourself as a dancer and pioneer movements for yourself and others – from wherever you are.
So keep working for what you love! Where you live matters so much less than what you're willing to do.