I want to dance. I can feel it in my skin, in my brain, in my nervous system that cannot stop moving. It wants to express, to travel, to come out.
If you give up, it will give up on you.
If you don’t ask , you don’t get.
You need to put yourself out there.
These and many more advices are the ones you always hear, and you say to yourself as well, because you know, the chances, the opportunities, the network is out there. Dance has something magical: it is so personal and so social at the same time!!
But most of all is a source of joy, the delight to do something.
The art of doing.
When I studied contemporary dance, they prepared me for a lot of things. And they didn’t prepare me for many others. As for example, for the fact that I would spend so much time in front of a laptop. Writing for hours and hours applications and letters of interest , explaining why I am good, why I want to do this, why to choose me and not the person next to me.
And it makes sense for them to want to know that. And it makes sense to be very hard for us to write it 100 times. Like the fact that I left my home, travelled alone 3114 km, i dance since 6 years old everyday (and sometimes even in my sleep!), i did an undergraduate, postgraduate, workshops, development courses, intensives, I teach, I read, I watch performances, I ‘ve spend so many hours and money in dancing studios, it is my profession, what I chose, and i want to do it, it is not enough. And if you are lucky, they like the letter and the videos, you get invited to an audition, and then you may get cut. Because then something else that you have it is not enough. And that is the main point:
It is not enough.
But, it is!
And what I understand more and more is that these applications are not tests. But greeting letters. The more you meet the dance world, the more they become like letters to a friend rather than letter of interest to a big company. And the more you do it, the more you develop writing skills, marketing skills, experience, chances and some of us-like me- a few more numbers up on your glasses prescription!
And that is the next thing I hadn’t understood when i studied dance. You are not just a dancer,teacher, choroegrapher, artist, athlete. Which is already a lot.
But you are also marketer, pr, administrator, advertiser, manager, psychologist, writer, designer, director, stage manager, photographer, model, film maker, camera man, accountant, editor, columnist, economist, event organiser, pc expert, physiotherapist, doctor, philosopher…
All of these. In one.
And without having much time or money to do all of them..
And that’s how we move on to the next key point.
The other thing they didn’t prepare us to become: baristas and bartenders. Maybe in between the dance training we should also get coffee workshops!! Because even if we don’t want to admit it ,we will have to do this job for a little time, or for a while. And many other jobs in order to be able to make some money. The important thing though is, to do these jobs not in order to just pay the rent and sleep, but in order to keep on living what started up as your dream. And with the money you make to keep on developing, learning, going for new opportunities.
This might be a job that has a little money and some time a lot (oh,yes , sometimes!). It might have uncertainty and stress. It doesn’t leave you any time to spend with the ones you want, and on you days off (on your..what??) to be busy with this again. You don’t know in which city or country you may be next month, or if you will have enough money for the rent or a coffee outside..
But it also has something great : like the name says, you are free.
And also, when everything goes wrong, dance is still there. Maybe in a week the whole world will turn upside down and then you get in the studio, or on the stage and you come out shining! And it is not only that you have forgotten about your problems, you have found a new way of seeing your problems. You have a brand new world view. And everything becomes a little bit more simple, and everything becomes a little bit easier. And you remember why, why you are here. And the moments you perform, you teach, you share, you dance, you create, they are so unique, that you have faith again that you can overcome anything.
So this profession, yes, it is hard. We do much more than just moving about in a studio (I have heard that…), we might not get paid at all for a job (and even be scared to ask for it), or we might get paid 500£ for a week, 10£ or 70£ for an hour, we might have work for 1 month and nothing for 3 months, or work for 3 months and nothing for 1.
But i don’t regret choosing that, not even for one moment. It makes you so fulfilled, you learn so much, you grow, it excites you, it relaxes you, it challenges you. And if you put yourself into it, it gives you so much back that you want to share them with the whole world!
And the biggest thing it gives you?
A very good reason to wake up every morning.
And that, either with 0£ or 500£ per week, is a value that is priceless.