BY EMMALY WIEDERHOLT; ILLUSTRATIONS BY MAGGIE STACK
Dear Stance on Dance reader,
Have you ever skimmed through our interviews or scrolled through our posts, wondering, “All these deep questions…where the hell are the answers?! Enough pondering about ‘the art form’ or whatever!”
Finally, at long last, we’re giving you straight up answers! “How do I join a professional dance company?” “What do I do if I’m injured?” “How do I segue from dance into another career?” We answer all that and more. Just remember, we are not legally responsible for what might come from following our advice.
Q: I want to be a dancer more than anything. How can I make my dreams come true?
A: You should take class and do stretching and strengthening exercises every day. However, success in dance is often determined by factors completely out of your control. That’s why we encourage young dancers to resort to voodoo, witchcraft and mysticism. You have more of a chance of channeling the spirits than you do of getting noticed in an audition, so why not try some spells?
Q: I injured my foot dancing. My doctor says I need to take eight weeks off to heal, but I’m worried I won’t get cast in the recital if I miss so much time.
A: Your doctor is absolutely right, of course, if your goal is to heal. But let’s be clear what’s really at stake. Most dancers love the limelight. “I’m content to be in the back row,” said no dancer ever. Our advice? Take two and a half weeks off, get your ass in there, down a bunch of ibuprofen, snag that lead role, and bask in the sound of applause. It will help ease the pain to come.
Q: My daughter wants to be in a professional dance company, but I think she needs to go to school and study. I’m worried about her future.
A: You are right to prioritize your daughter’s education; dance isn’t good for paying the bills. But what it is good for is a lifetime of casually dropping the line, “Oh, did I mention…I used to be a dancer.” While good grades might lead to scholarships, no one ever followed up a dancer’s braggadocio with stories of riveting college exams.
Q: I’ve danced my whole life. After years of dancing professionally with no financial security, I’m wondering how to segue into another career that’s more sustainable.
A: Give up. You might think you have other talents that apply to other fields, but inevitably the day will come when you’re sitting at your desk and you inadvertently point your foot. And you realize how much your pointe sucks now, so you go take class, which is equally dissatisfying. Next thing you know, you’re in the thick of it again, only now you’re older and jaded. This thing is a curse, and don’t kid yourself there’s any way out. “I didn’t choose dance; dance chose me.” You might as well say, “I didn’t choose to contract the deadly virus; it chose me!”