Bigger Isn’t Always Better

Today I’m talking about the benefits of a smaller company. I feel there is always pressure to be at some big company or some big school, but this isn’t always true. Every dancer needs something different and smaller companies might be it and here is why.

More performing opportunities as a student has been a nice benefit from being at a smaller school. With a smaller company, they will pull more from the school for performing opportunities. It’s for this reason that I have been in productions other than Nutcracker and Spring Showcases (aka recitals).

Another benefit to training at a smaller school or company is more personalized attention. This is sometimes found in bigger schools, but not that much. It’s common sense, smaller class, more attention for each student. For some dancers that little bit of extra attention can make all the difference in their training.

The last reason to consider a smaller school is if you want a more laid back ballet schedule. If you don’t want a ballet or dance career, you’ll most likely prefer the easier small school schedule that is common.

Overall every dancer has different needs, if you want to be a big fish in a little pond a smaller school is probably better. Some may want a reputation with bigger companies and in that case you should consider a bigger school. My point is don’t throw one method or the other aside based off what you hear from others.

Sorry for such a short post, please check back next week for a review!

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!

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!