I am not that old (yet.) But I AM old enough to see a difference in generations of dance. This current generation is mind blowing-ly talented but scarily missing the work ethics of my slightly less talented generation as well as those that came before us. As most of you will dance for my generation or the generations prior; here is what was expected of us that we naturally and collectively, expect from you.
~ NEVER mark. (unless you are told to do so) Why pay for a class and mark until you get into groups? groups occur for MAYBE 10 minutes, most of which you’ll spend trying to figure out the parts you’ve been marking.
~don’t sit. Don’t yawn. Be on time. If anything, be early. Touching your toes and sitting in a grande plié 2nd for a minute does not constitute a sufficient warm up.
~put your phones AWAY. Be hungry to know EVERYTHING about your art; ESPECIALLY its history. You would not be here without those that came before you. You MUST be able to hold an intelligent conversation about the art form that you have chosen to make your life’s purpose.
~if you miss rehearsal, get with someone prior to learn the choreography you don’t know. You shouldn’t have to be reminded to do this…you should WANT to. If you don’t make the “you tube” video, don’t get the job, or don’t get called out for the “special” group; it doesn’t mean you stop coming to class. In fact, the very opposite. you KEEP SHOWING UP. Perseverance and SHOWING UP is the KEY.
~ if a dance doesn’t win, it doesn’t mean it’s bad. If your choreographer isn’t on SYTYCD, it doesn’t mean they aren’t worth working with. Know loyalty. ALWAYS remember where you came from and who got you there. Be humble. Even if that older dancer can’t turn as many times as you, there’s a reason why they are STILL working. Respect and learn from them.
~be responsible for your energy. Come to class to be inspired but be responsible for what you bring to the table too. Never treat the role of an understudy or guest teacher as a waste of time. It is often a fruitful opportunity of a lifetime.
~be self-motivated and self-driven. Do your homework. Go to ballet. Go to African. Go to modern. Go to EVERYTHING. The class and/or teacher that challenge you most is usually where and who you are growing most from. If you’re injured, be smart. Know what it is to work internally; without expectation of reward or instant gratification.
~be open to criticism. Be open PERIOD. If you commit to something follow it through with enthusiasm or drop out completely. We are in a line of work that people throw their life, their savings, and their whole heart into. Don’t destroy it by giving anybody less than your best.
~don’t be SHADY. If you know someone say, “HI” regardless of whether it makes you look good in that moment. If you see a video you dig on Facebook, like it. If someone is better than you in class, shout out a “work!” and study the hell out of ’em.
~and finally, know that dance does not come overnight, or over months, or even years. It happens throughout a LIFETIME and is a process that is to be adored despite struggle. Love every second of it for genuine reason and you will probably find yourself doing all this naturally.