As a professional dancer this article hit close to home. ——-> Cheerleader Called Too Chunky
To succeed in the industry requires physical strength. Your calves burn from hours on your toes, your core burns from yoga class in the attempt to perfect your lifts and you cringe through burning muscles and blisters for the love of it all. But your mind shouldn’t burn.
To succeed in the industry requires mental strength. This article is the unfortunate truth of the business. I speak from experience. Do I know people that have let go of their dream because the mind game was too painful? Yes. And it hurts my soul to accept that it will probably never change.
The dance scene knocks at your pride with a daily dose of judgement as you work towards perfection; not only in the steps and style but in the silhouette seen through the lens. The measurements and muscle. The inches fading up and out. Blunt? Absolutely. Reality? Like you wouldn’t believe. Here and there I get asked how I approach this glamour game. I first posted the following as the captain of the Toronto Raptors Dance Pak on our blog three years ago but I’ve shared it many times since. And once again I feel it’s appropriate. -k
It’s all about the ABC’S…
February. The month of the groundhog and cupid. The cold nips at your heels and you hit snooze fourteen times before you run to the heat of the shower in the AM. You eat two out of three of your meals in the dark and they probably consist of comfort foods like Mom’s killer macaroni and cheese recipe from your childhood. It’s winter, folks! And the only ones smart enough to hide from the elements are the bears.
I won’t lie. I’ve been in hibernation mode for the past four days. I made it as far as loading new songs onto my iPod in hopes it would give me a motivational kick in the butt to boogie over to the gym. But the -25C windchill puffed out its chest and won. I drank my hot chocolate and marshmallows, ignored that tick of guilt and quietly hummed the winter blues.
Happily adding more marshmallows to my cup of cocoa, I clicked over to Facebook. Raptors lose unlucky 13, storm brews harder in the GTA and a message. Hey Katherine.
A blast from the past. A former student. Now taller than me, a fiercer dancer than me, pursuing that “I want to dance forever” dream she used to talk about in tap class. And getting hit hard by the reality of the business. After a certain point it’s the complete package that clears that next hurdle. It’s what they see when you walk into that audition room that counts.
“What’s your motivation? What’s your secret? What gets your body in the game when your mind says no and vice versa?”
My heart sinks a bit every time the ‘reality of the biz’ swims past me. But it is reality. An evil shark sized reality. And it’s something you need to accept when you decide to follow your dream. That was my first step. So I typed back ACCEPTANCE.
The night before two friends and I were having dinner and over our spinach dip and chips the same topic came up at the table. I’m not perfect. I drink too much coffee and don’t get my eight glasses of water everyday. I eat Doritos when I’m sad and ice cream when I’m happy. And I walk confidently onto that basketball court in a Raptors splashed half top because I now know the meaning of BALANCE. But it took me four years in the professional world, three years in theatre school and many ups and downs to figure it out. Listen to your body, don’t deprive yourself because life is too good for that and on those low days remember how great you feel in spirit when you take care of you.
I was cleaning out my closet and I found an old journal from my theatre school days and splashed across the first page was the saying “CONFIDENCE is beautiful”. It’s not something that is easy to find and hold on to tightly when you’re knocked down daily for your artistic imperfections. And it comes with growth. But when I started believing in myself (I’m at about 94.7% of the time) I started pursuing and conquering bigger hills.
Everybody does it differently. Acceptance, Balance and Confidence. I figured out my equation and I work on my ABC’S. The ‘S’ is for SUPPORT. I told her she has mine. -k