Annoying Ballet Stereotypes

We all face annoying stereotypes from none dancers. Here are a few for none dancers reading this to avoid and for dancers out there to know I feel your pain.

1.We don’t eat- Just like athletes, we need fuel to dance, so stop being surprised when we eat a real meal. In addition if we say we aren’t hungry, we aren’t hungry, we’re definitely not starving ourselves contrary to belief.

2. We don’t care or know about sports- Just because I don’t play a sport, doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy watching them. Not only do I like watching them, I know what’s going on, too.

3. We all listen to classical music- This one is just weird. Sure we like it because we listen to it in class, but that doesn’t mean I go home and listen to it.

4. We are mean- Movies about the arts or dance world always paint dancers as snobby, stuck up, mean girls, but I swear we’re nice.

5. We are frail- Another one that is complete bogus. If you’re dancing nine hours a day as a professional, you have to be strong. You need core strength, hip strength, ankle strength, and endurance, if you have those things I’d say you aren’t frail.

6. We are very girly- There’s nothing wrong with being girly, but don’t assume I am because I do ballet. Just because I’m a ballerina, it doesn’t mean I love wearing makeup, shopping, and being the pretty princess with a crown and tutu.

7. It’s just a hobby- This is more a stereotype of ballet rather than ballerinas, but it is still annoying. Even if you don’t do it professionally, this isn’t a hobby, it’s a passion.

8. It’s easy- The worst stereotype of them all, ballet is easy. It isn’t, it just isn’t, you can take my word on this one.

 

Seniority or Merit?

Piggy backing off of my last post with casting, I’m going into the debate of seniority or talent. It is a well-known issue on whether the oldest people with the most experience get the coveted role/position or do the most talented. This occurs not only in ballet, but everything such as school sports or who to hire for a job. I’ll give my stance on each side and hopefully you’ll comment your thoughts below.

Let’s start with why seniority should get the best part. Seniority has (to go with the classic argument) been there the longest. The people of seniority have waited their turn and now they deserve their chance. It isn’t fair to let someone younger get the better role if they’re brand new after you have been waiting years to get the better role. Another reason to choose seniority is that eliminates the chances for favoritism. You wouldn’t want the same talented person getting the good roles year after year.

Now let’s think about why the more talented person should get the role. The first reason to choose the more talented person is that it motivates. If you have to be the best for the reward, you will work harder to get there because you have incentive. Another reason why the talented should get a better part is that it may give the best product in the end. With the best person performing the role it will result in the best performance.

Overall, I prefer rewarding merit with better roles over rewarding seniority because it pushes people to work a little harder. I think both sides have their benefits and downfalls. Sorry the post is so short, but be sure to check back next week and let me know what you think down below, seniority or merit?

Reality of Casting

Today, I’m discussing the realities of casting. While it would be nice to think casting goes to who truly deserves it, that isn’t always the case. There are so many factors that play into casting that it can sometimes be a struggle when it goes an unwanted way. Some factors that play into casting beyond talent are schedules, seniority, and sizing.

The first way casting can go, is that you aren’t cast at all. This can be very upsetting, but you just have to keep a positive outlook. As said before there is a lot that can go into casting, beyond who is technically best for a role. All you can really do after not being cast is get back up and better yourself, so you’ll get the next part.

Another way casting can go is being cast, but it in a role you don’t care for. I think everyone experiences this at least once in their dance career and it can be very hard to handle. The first thing I have to say about being in this scenario is it is out of your hands. Ultimately we have no input in casting and it is what the caster sees fit and best for whatever the casting is for. As dancers we are under the director’s (or whatever other position’s) control and we need to respect their decision even if it upsets us. The other thing I have to say about getting a role you don’t like, is be grateful you got one. Even if it isn’t your ideal role, you should be happy you have one at all.

The final way casting can go, is getting the role you want. Even when you get the role you wanted, there are things to remember. The number one thing to remember is to be humble, especially if it is a major role. You should be happy you received that casting, but not so over the top about it that you put down peers. The other thing to remember is that now that you have the casting you worked for, you must continue to work to keep it. Just because you received a role, doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to perform it if you slack off upon receiving it.

Overall casting can be either very upsetting or very exciting and no matter which way it goes you need to do three things. First, keep a positive out look on the scenario no matter how cheesy that may sound. Second, always keep working, whether it’s to keep what you have or to advance to better casting. Lastly, remember it is out of our hand. Casting can go anyway depending on many things, so keep that in mind.

I hope this article helps dealing with casting struggles and be sure to check back for another post on Monday!

Branch Out of Ballet

Today’s post discusses the importance of trying styles of dance outside of ballet, even if you think you don’t like them.

My first reason for why you should expand your dance education to different styles is because it will help you bring personality to your ballet. You can have the best technique in the world, but if you can’t bring artistry and personality to your dancing you won’t get far. It isn’t always easy to add this artistry, but I find taking classes such as jazz that are a little more free help bring this quality out.

The second reason I advice broadening your horizons is that it can give you a new view and approach to the same old move. If you struggle with turns in ballet, but come at them with a different approach in contemporary or jazz this can carry over into your ballet training.

The next reason to try new dance styles is that it can give you a break. They allow you to take a new and challenging way of dance, while giving you a break from the strict barriers of ballet. Other styles allow for a little more relaxation, especially if they aren’t your main focus like ballet.

The final reason to start other varieties of dance is that they will help you professionally. You will not be able to make it in the real world of ballet with only ballet training. This becomes clear with new modern choreography popping up everywhere and with no ballet company being strictly ballet. To give yourself the best edge, you want to be as versatile as possible and what better way to do that then have training in other styles.

Overall I highly advice trying a style of dance other than ballet. It will help your ballet dancing and your career opportunities. Not to mention, it is a great way to have fun and let loose. I have always enjoyed classes in jazz and contemporary and wouldn’t mind trying out hip hop and ballroom as well. So, go and try a new style and be better for it!

The Balancing Act

Today is all about balance, not only in ballet, but with school and ballet. To me there is a triangle of ballet, school, and sleep. All of those things are really important, but it’s really hard to have them all. While I don’t always balance these things, I do have some tips on how to get there.

  1. Manage Your Time

This is harder than it sounds, but try to plan out way ahead of something. Being a dancer takes time, so figuring out when you will get school stuff done is essential. It will be hard to do this in the start, but once you get into the habit of planning out your school life with your ballet life, it will get easier.

2. Learn to Say No

I myself struggle with this, but it is necessary with tight schedules. Whether it is deciding to take an easier class or saying you can’t do that optional piece, know your limits. Yes, you want to challenge and push yourself in school and dance, but if it’s too much then it’s counterproductive.

3. Ask for Help

If you need help, don’t be afraid to ask. Go to your teachers and ask for help with those harder questions and material. You have nothing to lose and it can only make your life easier if you understand things better.

4. Routine

Getting into a routine will make it easier to get things done. If you have a routine it helps you know what you need to do next and makes it harder for you to get distracted and procrastinate.

5. Sacrifice for Sleep

Final tip, forget the rest and get some sleep. Above all else you need to feel rested and healthy, so once in a while (not everyday) just tell yourself this one homework assignment doesn’t matter or I can skip strengthening for one night.

None of these tips are easy to do right away and it takes time to get used to it, but once you have them down it makes merging ballet and school just a little bit easier. I know I definitely struggle to say no and I struggle to just set everything else down and go to bed, but once you do it, you won’t regret it!