An Inside Look at the World of Dancers

An Inside Look at the World of Dancers

In this week’s guest blog, we take a look at the world of dancing…

I need to make it explicitly clear that there are endless benefits to being a dancer. The confidence boosts, the fitness regime, the ability to express yourself through movement and the relationships cultivated are all things everybody should experience. However, as with everything, there are struggles you will undoubtedly face as a dancer and a performer. This post details some of the slightly more negative issues faced by dancers.

Unpaid work

If you reach out to a dance group and offer them work, you are asking them FOR A SERVICE. That service comes at a price. I totally understand that everyone is trying to run a business. You may be a new artist trying to break out, you may not be able to pay your dancers ridiculous fees, but there has to be some reward. I’m going to break this down very simply. Your live performances and your music video would not work without dancers. Dancers enhance the music you are putting out to the world, and for that there has to be some kind of remuneration, payment, whatever you want to call it. Most dancers will dance for free if there are other benefits. Whether that is the exclusive use of that sole group, exposure as the talent in your performance, or future recommendations to other artists, there has to be something that benefits both parties. You wouldn’t give your talent as an artist as away for free, so do not expect dancers to do the same. There is a lot of hard work, sweat and the occasional tear that goes into performances, whether that be live or for a shoot. The effort has to be mirrored and repaid in kind.

Last minute changes

        As an artist you should know the stress and pressure that comes before a performance, whether that is live or recorded. Do NOT make changes five minutes before this!! Your dancers will stress, the changes are more than likely to be unrehearsed, with the performance suffering as a result. Professional dancers will handle the changes, but it is disrespectful to not give enough time to prepare physically and emotionally. This includes outfit changes, tweaks to steps and routines and formation amendments among other things. Any changes require time to prepare and time to review.

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 Let the dancers keep their identity

        You hired the group for a reason; there is something about that group that made you reach out to them above others. Do not try to change their key identity and style. Many dance groups  work incredibly hard to differentiate from others, whether it be in their choreography, formation and routines or overall look. This is what separates them from others and pushes their aura as something unique. If you attempt to mould the group into something different not only is this blatant disregard to their characteristics, but it is a waste of time for both you and them.

Match the efforts of your dancers

If you have requested changes to choreo make sure you learn it! Dancers spend hours in rehearsal to ensure routines look flawless, if you can’t match this dedication please don’t request changes in the first place. That includes turning up to rehearsals, getting to know your dancers and the lead choreographer.

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       Pitting dance groups against each other

More often than not dancers will collaborate. The dance community is a strong one and although there is competition it’s healthy. Artists will lose respect by pitting groups against one another, there should be more inclusion and inspiration and less bitching.

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   Going out as a Dancer

Going out as a dancer with your group is the start of endless enjoyment. Speaking personally, I’m incredibly lucky to have made some of my best friends through dance, and nights out always end in synchro, laughs, and lots of whining. However there can be times when being a dancer gets you unwanted attention. Regardless of profession, hobby, location, etc., if an individual has made it clear they don’t want your attention, remove it. I have witnessed and experienced many occasions in which my girls have been uncomfortable dancing in a club due to the actions of others. Whether this is due to males acting in a predatory fashion, or females acting petty and rude, it shouldn’t be the case regardless. I, and my girls understand that this behaviour is common, and not limited to dancers, however it must be noted that this is another battle faced.

With all the above said, I’d like to make it abundantly clear that dance has my heart and always will. The struggles we face make way for some of the most exciting and rewarding experiences, and the post performance adrenaline rush is addictive. Keep your eyes peeled for my next post highlighting my favourite aspects of being a dancer.

Ell

Ell can be found writing here, on Instagram and also on Twitter.