Dance is HARD
OK so, probably not the title some of you expected. Let me explain…
“Dance” as a verb, by definition, is simply to move rhythmically (or not) to music…(or not). It’s an action, and there’s really nothing too hard about that. When “Dance” becomes a noun, however, it takes on a whole new identity. It is now a THING, a PERSON, a PLACE. Tangible. You give it meaning and purpose, create a relationship that is worthy of an “it’s complicated” check mark on your status, and suddenly…things aren’t so easy.
But I Love this thing
I’m an artistic, empathetic soul who can’t help but focus on the ART that is dance. I’ve never been really materialistic in nature, and much like a lot of you, would rather spend time doing something than spend a lot of money on things like clothes or make-up. It’s important to note, that while dance is in fact my love and career choice (we’ll talk about how that’s going in a different post) it is not something I was fortunate enough to do my whole life. I began fairly “late” in my pursuits, and it wasn’t until about five years ago that any of this even began to manifest for me. That plays a huge role in my personal views of the dance industry and how it works. Although there is so much more I need to learn, and I hold no grudge with those keeping the industry wheels greased and turning, I know I can safely say two things: 1) I do not agree with a lot of the normal business practices, and 2) I see everything through a different lens, so it’s my job to show you what I see.
“If only it were that simple .”
I can’t stop moving. Seriously, when I hear music, it’s very hard to sit still (actually, it’s hard for me to sit still for very long in any situation). That being said, I knew I somehow needed to make a career out of movement. So one would think: thing I can’t stop doing + thing I love to do + MONEY = successful happy life. Right?
The “I” word
Ahhh…and so it begins.
The “I” word I’m referring to is “Industry”. Now, I don’t mean to use this as a curse word because it’s not necessarily a bad thing. I completely understand the need for it, and of course, anything that generates revenue is a business that needs regulation. But let’s be honest, much like the economic gaps that exist between upper and middle class Americans and those at the poverty line, there is a very real and very scary line that also exists within the dance world.
For those of us who are lucky enough, we get signed by an agency or meet the right people, we go on auditions, we network, and we book industry jobs. Some people become part of dance companies, or work on cruise lines and amusement parks. All great stuff. But what of those of us who aren’t so lucky? What of the dancer that doesn’t get signed because he doesn’t have the right “look”? Because let’s face it, it’s not really about your abilities, is it?What about the girl who can’t teach to make money like everyone else, because she lacks the experiences that people trust, and make her hire-able? Because let’s be honest, you NEED to have danced for Beyonce to have a successful class (#amIright?). Anyone who decided to do this for money, is clearly in the wrong business. There is a very daunting lack of financial support that hinders a lot of young dancers (and choreographers) from pursuing their dreams.
Let’s dig a little deeper though. What about the guy who teaches BECAUSE he has no other way to make money. He’s not touring, he’s not on a job, but he has bills. I wonder if he cares more about the growth of the next generation of dancers, or about keeping his cable on so he can watch Scandal? Well if not then, what about that training program? Does it guarantee you success in this business? Hmm…maybe I should try it! Then again, I went to college and that didn't guarantee me a job either. So what now? Who does a dancer with a dream of making it turn to?
There is an obvious lack of community in dance. Commercially, competition world, from Hip-hop to Ballroom. I do recognize that It’s not everywhere, and not everyone is out to compete with you. There are in fact a LOT of mentors willing to help the “up-and-comings” reach their potential, and ensure that what’s important about dance is not lost. But that can’t continue to be a handful of people, it needs to be EVERYONE, otherwise we will.
Let me be clear, this blog is to be a conversation. My goal is to start a dialogue on the state of the dance community. Yes, you will hear a LOT of my opinion. Yes, I WILL be on my soapbox most of the time. But I think it’s essential to begin an awareness campaign that highlights the issues so we can begin talking about solutions. I know I’m not alone, and so
is born. Use the theashtag, and Let's start Moving each other. Let's get a Move on change. Let's make bigger and better Moves. Let's Move towards reform.
But hey..what do I know, right?
I just Move.
“If only we were all so lucky”