Word on the street is that they are thinking of removing the arts from the schooling system… I’m sorry. WHAT?! Do my ears decieve me? JUST because it isn’t considered ‘academic’…? I’ll tell you now, anyone who has trained in the arts knows just how important it is and how you can learn things even more useful than Pythagorus … Life skills!
Employers love hiring dancers, actors or performers, with good reason!
Many of us have trained for almost our entire life. We have worked our little butts off! Shed blood, sweat and tears – put our bodies through absolute agony, just to reach where we are today. But there could come a time, whether it’s 2 years after graduation, or 2 months – that you suddenly stop and think. Am I really cut out for this career? Is this making me happy?
And don’t you dare be ashamed if you ask yourself these questions and discover the answer is, no.
It doesn’t mean you don’t love to dance, or that you are any less of a dancer, it just means maybe you don’t fancy fighting for a job in a room full of 300 people, that you’d never get because you’re 5″2. Or that you just don’t have the urge to hand out leaflets for hours on end in between contracts, with the uncertainty of when your next job will be. Maybe you are the type of person that needs stability! Make you like having money? Nothing wrong with that!
But if you make the brave decision to take a step back and say ‘this industry isn’t for me’, then don’t ever, EVER, think that all those years of training, hard work, missed parties and long days were a waste. Because dancing teaches you more than how to prance around on stage and how to engage your core.
It teaches you life skills. And it’s modelled you in to the awesome person you are today.
Whether you started skipping around ballet classes at the wee age of 5, or if you didn’t do your first arabesque until you were 18 – there’s a tonne of attractive attributes that the majority of dancers have in common, which is why I firmly believe that some form of training within the arts whilst growing up is imperitive for future developement.
Here are just a few of the things we have learnt on our long, arduous journey:
- The Importance Of Determination, Practice and Never Giving Up – Dancing is scientific and measurable… as in, if you do a pirouette and you fall on your arse, you aren’t doing it right. So you practice. You don’t just shrug your shoulders, admit defeat and think that’s the best you’ll ever be able to do. You do it again and again and again until you can perform a perfect double on queue. Other things in life, unfortunately, aren’t quite as easy to measure. But dancers can apply this quality to anything they do and won’t stop trying until they KNOW, that they have offered their very best.
- The Art of Confidence – Fake It Til’ You Make It – You wouldn’t believe it, but sometimes performers can in reality, be quite shy. But it’s not crippling shyness – they know how to switch on the charm and act their way through any situation that requires a little sass and confidence. They will always come across as friendly, approachable people – making it almost impossible to not gravitate towards them.
- How To Take Criticism Graciously – If a dancer is working for you, you can be sure as hell that they will work well. Through training, they have had years of taking on board notes, corrections and cricism (which isn’t always constructive) and adjusting their actions accordingly.
- How To Work Individually Or As A Team – Dancers will thrive and revel in their thirty second solo and really make the most of it but they will also work damn hard as a team to make sure the piece is looking clean and on point. Put them in any situation outside of performing and they will do exactly the same. Yes, we love working solo sometimes but we know the importance of team work.
- How To Make Freinds For Life – okay so this one is slightly different, but during your training you make the best of friends, with bonds that cannot be broken. Those who dance together, stay together. If you can make it through the stress of class and college & the friendship has experienced downs as well as ups, then you can pretty much conquer anything.
- The Importance Of Exercise – The need to move your body and exercise is ingrained in you for life once you have trained as a dancer. Not only is this good for your physical health but it is also excellent for your mental health too. The constant activity means a high release of endorphins, which ultimately means that generally, we are REALLY happy people!
- The Art Of Personal Presentation – Dancers really understand the connotations that presenting yourself well has. For the ladies, the years of ballet buns and stage make up means we have presentation down to a fine art. Believe it or not, a simple thing such as a good sense of hair, make up and dress can get you places.
- How To Deal With Healthy Competition – A bit of a competitive side never hurt anybody, unless it get’s bitchy. Training has taught us how to push ourselves in a competitive environment, yet be encouraging to others. Dancers are unfortunately, no stranger to rejection, meaning we are gracious in defeat and use it to our advantage – we’ll work twice as hard to do it better next time.
- That Discipline, Time Keeping & Organisation Is Key – Aside from technique, these attributes are crucial to surviving college, or ANY job for that matter.
- To Recognise And Respect Authority – If you ever, EVER, even dared to dispute or answer back to a teacher you’d be out on your ear and will have ruined your possibility of ever improving in that class ever again. So it’s something we just don’t do – no matter who is in charge.
So how could anybody dispute that dancers don’t make great employees? Those are just a few things – I haven’t even started on our actual creative skills! I’m not trying to imply at all that these attributes can’t be gained in any way, but what I am trying to say, is that it would be a travesty if they were ever to stunt the arts developing in schools.
What I’m also trying to say, in a round about way, is for those people who think that maybe it’s time to put the dancing shoes away & start something new – but can’t bring themselves to do it because they feel guilty that their years of training has amounted to nothing – STOP. You are WRONG. Look at everything else training has taught you – these are things that nobody can ever take away from you.
Don’t ever think of moving on as failure.