What It Takes To Be A Dancer

Avery Armano

When I tell anyone that I am a dancer I almost always get the question “Can you do the splits” or “Can you do a flip”. They think it’s an easy activity and isn’t a sport. I could agree it isn’t a sport because it is more artistic and imaginative but, many people don’t stop to think about how much work dancers have to put in to become a good dancer. You have to have both mental and physical strength, you have to be dedicated, you need to have good technique, and most of all you need to have a positive attitude. Sometimes this can be difficult though because dance has many challenges that come along with the good parts of the activity.

I know what my struggles are but I got curious if other people had the same as me or if they were different. I started to look up articles and came across one that explained the “6 Reasons Why People Quit Dance.” I found how many people struggle with the feeling of stress to be perfect and if they aren’t perfect they don’t think they will get better and it can cause them to move on to another sport or just stop altogether. It is known by many dancers that if you want to be an advanced dancer the only way to get better is to practice, and many dancers will get burnt out by the middle of high school and feel like what they need is a break. For many people this can be good so they can focus on school as well as getting into college. For me dance is my therapy and when I get stressed about school I go to dance to alleviate some of the stress. Lastly, many dancers have to quit dancing due to funding.  

I interviewed a few of my teammates from my dance studio to see if they agreed with this article. I asked them a series of questions and their responses were interesting. I interviewed Addison Thorne and Rebecca Winston. They explained how having to observe themselves in the mirror every day has caused some self-esteem issues. 

Even though they both have challenges that dance throws at them they still love dance and would do anything to be there. Rebecca also explained how dance is very expensive and how this year she has had to take fewer classes so her family was able to afford competition still. Rebecca now has a job and works to be able to pay for some of the dance classes. This shows what it can take to be a dancer. Rebecca shows pure dedication to dance, many families are not fortunate enough to be able to keep dancing at all. 

Addison said how she loves that dance gives her the chance to be physically active every day of the week, as well as how it helps her challenge herself at the competitions. She elaborated and expressed how much dance competitions help her grow. She will watch the opposing teams at competitions who are more advanced and will take what they do so well and go back to the studio and watch herself dancing. She told me she looks to see if she is pointing her toes in her turns or getting high enough off the ground in her leaps. This is an example of the stress that dance can cause. Dancers watch other dances and in their head they pick every little thing that person has that you don’t. To be a good dancer they need to be able to push those thoughts to the side and do what Addison can do… grow.  Even when you are not dancing you are putting in time and effort to become a better dancer 24/7.

As dancers we have to learn how to take the burdens and change them from things that hinder our improvement into challenges that we can face and overcome. That is what it takes to be a dancer.