Over my last three years of training, I have found one question very tricky to answer…
“What do you do?”
Okay, the first part is simple to answer. “I’m a student.”
But then comes the dreaded part…
“What do you study?”
Yeesh, right okay – Now you have 3 options.
Option 1 – “I’m at a vocational” – Do non stagey folk even know what that means??
Option 2 – “I go to a dance college” – Does that make you sound like you can’t do anything else so dance is the easy option?
Option 3 – “I do dance at uni.” Which is naturally followed by “oh cool what university do you go to?” Which you just know after you’ve told them, you will receive a blank look accompanied by a fake nod of recognition, even though you know they don’t have a clue where you’re talking about.
Also, we performers have pride in what we do, it is bloody hard work – calling it university gives totally the wrong impression – they will suddenly picture the scenes of Fame and High School Musical and imagine that you spend your days skipping about merrily in a studio… just… no. So here are a few reasons why performers prefer not to use the university reference.
University – Usually consists of about 8 hours of lectures and seminars a week. Lectures are basically another, more uncomfortable place to sleep than the bed you have just dragged yourself from.
Vocational – 8 hours a week?!? To us, this is unthinkable – try 8 hours a day of strenuous activity, where blood, sweat and tears are shed on a daily basis and are basically mandatory
University – I know, it’s hard. I don’t dispute the yuckiness of end of year exams, constant essays and a 10,000+ word dissertation to finish it all off.
Vocational – I don’t dispute it because at vocational you do it all too (along with termly assessments where the marks are basically subjective) but instead of leisurely taking time to do it on your days off from uni, it all has to be done at 8 o’clock in the evening when you’ve been slogging your guts out all day and want nothing more than a long hot bath to sooth your aching muscles and to curl up in the safety of your duvet – where nobody can tell you you’re doing it wrong.
University – Uni is basically, one big party. You enjoy cheap student nights out several times during one week – even if you have a lecture the next day – it’s okay to sleep through it.
Vocational – Social life? Sorry, whats that? Not only is it impossible and deadly to go out midweek (try and pirouette in your 9am ballet class on a hangover and you’ll be on your arse before you can say tequila), but by the time the weekend comes around you are a) too tired or b) working, because its the only time you can. However, if you do manage to bite the bullet and drink past the tiredness, you can say bye to the little money you have, student deals don’t exist on the weekend.
University – “Oooh, Criminology? They must be super smart…”
Vocational – “Oh right, they do dance do they? They must not be able to have done anything else. It can’t be that hard to prance about in a studio all day.” UHEMM… My sopping wet leotard says otherwise.
Reading all of that you think, then why the hell did you decide to do that instead of university? Crazy fools. Believe me, I have asked myself that question several times and have come to one conclusion. Yes. We are all mad. And I mean, clinically insane!! We all believe that this thing called performing is in our blood, we are under some mad impression that it is ingrained in our DNA and there is some outer force telling us we HAVE to do it! But, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
P.s I’m adding a disclaimer to this as it seems that some people are getting the wrong idea about the article’s intention. It is, by no means, written to belittle/diminish/undermine university students AT ALL, it is merely a piece of entertaining writing, tailored to a specific audience and to share the experience with everybody. I don’t wish to offend anybody and I hope it can be read and differences of opinion can be appreciated. 🙂