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7 Signs It Might Be Time to Change Jobs
Is it time to break away? PC Thinkstock
Every dancer's career comes with disappointments. Maybe you're not getting cast in the roles you crave. Maybe you realize the promotion you're dreaming of will never come. Maybe you simply don't feel like you're living up to your potential.
But there has to be some balance to our labor of love. How can you know if you're just in a slump, or if it's time to change companies? How do you know if the negatives are outweighing the positives? Here are seven signs that you should possibly consider looking for a new dance job.
1. You're no longer receiving corrections or feedback on your performances. Every artist—in every field—needs feedback to progress. If you're not being pushed, or the artistic staff isn't responding to questions about your personal performance, there might be a bigger problem.
2. Your rank is ruining your relationship with dance. Are all your peers soaring ahead of you? If you know you are truly working your hardest and still feel like you're getting left behind, you might not be in the right environment. A different company could be a better fit for your strengths.
An outside project might be all it takes to feel fulfilled again. PC StockSnap
3. Extracurricular projects no longer fill the casting void. Sometimes when our dance career is in a slow phase, we can fill our time with outside projects like guestings, choreography, workshops, teaching, taking extra classes, etc. But if these activities aren't enough to satisfy you artistically or help you grow, you might need a bigger change than just another new side gig.
4. You can't talk to artistic staff. There are communication failings in every industry, but you shouldn't feel like you are constantly at odds with an "us verses them" mentality. Dancers need to be able to raise concerns about their needs, physical pains and career goals in a safe and empathetic environment.
Find a company that offers you tools to be your healthiest self. PC StockSnap
5. You can't be your healthiest physical self. Every company has its own dynamic when it comes to unspoken expectations for physical health and well-being. You know your body better than anyone—it's your instrument. If your current company is demanding more than you can physically offer, find one that will provide you with the tools you need to create your longest, healthiest career possible.
6. You no longer believe in the artistic direction of the company. Every company goes through changes in artistic vision, whether it's due to finances, artistic leadership or societal influences. Find out the planned repertoire for next season and figure out how your dancing fits into that vision. If you feel like it's no longer a good match for you, don't stay just out of complacency.
7. You realize there is no clear path forward. Artistic leaders are not mind readers. Carve out appropriate opportunities to share your career goals with your director. Assess whether or not your vision for yourself aligns with theirs. Your director should be able to articulate their plan for your career's trajectory. Ask what you can work on to improve and never turn down an opportunity to learn a role that will stretch you artistically. But if your director doesn't see your career headed in the direction you want, take the reins into your own hands.
I love being transgender. It's an important part of the story of why I choreograph. Although I loved dance from a very young age, I grew up never seeing a single person like me in dance. So how could I imagine a future for myself there?
The enormous barriers I had to overcome weren't internal: I didn't struggle with feelings of dysphoria, and I wasn't locked down by shame.
The dance community is heartbroken to learn that 14-year-olds Jaime Guttenberg and Cara Loughran were among the 17 people killed during the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.
Guttenberg was a talented competition dancer at Dance Theatre in Coconut Creek, FL, according to a report from Sun Sentinel. Dance Theatre owner Michelle McGrath Gerlick shared the below message on her Facebook page, encouraging dancers across the country to wear orange ribbons this weekend in honor of Guttenberg, whose favorite color was orange.
In today's dance world, it seems to go without saying: The more varied the training, the better. But is that always the case? Rhonda Malkin, a New York City–based dance coach who performed with the Radio City Rockettes, thinks trendy contemporary techniques that emphasize improvisation and organic movement quality are detrimental to the precision and strength needed to be a Rockette, in a traditional Broadway show or on a professional dance team. Her view is controversial: "If you really want to work, making $40,000 in three months for the Rockettes or $25,000 in one day filming a commercial, you need ballet, Broadway jazz, tap, hip hop—not contemporary," she says.
On the flip side, techniques that allow dancers more freedom may help them connect more deeply with their body and artistry, while providing release for overused muscles. We broke down the argument for both sides:
For many dancers, a "warmup" consists of sitting on the floor stretching their legs in various positions. But this strategy only reduces your muscles' ability to work properly—it negatively affects your strength, endurance, balance and speed for up to an hour.
Save your flexibility training for the end of the day. Instead, follow a warmup that will actually help prevent injury and improve your body's performance.
According to the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science, a smart warmup has four parts: "a gentle pulse-raising section, a joint mobilization section, a muscle lengthening section and a strength/balance building section."
A statement released yesterday by New York City Ballet and School of American Ballet reported that an independent investigation was unable to corroborate allegations of harassment and abuse against former ballet master in chief Peter Martins, according to The New York Times. This marks the end of a two-month inquiry jointly launched by the two organizations in December following an anonymous letter detailing instances of harassment and violence.
The statement also included new policies for both the company and school to create safer, more respectful environments for the dancers, including hiring an independent vendor to handle employee complaints anonymously. These changes are being made despite the independent investigation, handled by outside counsel Barbara Hoey, purportedly finding no evidence of abuse.
Not all ballet dancers cling to their youth. At 26, Lauren Lovette, the New York City Ballet principal, has surpassed the quarter-century mark. And she's relieved.
"I've never felt young," she says. "I can't wait until I'm 30. Every woman I've ever talked to says that at 30 you just don't care. You're free. Maybe I'll start early?"
When Beatlemania swept through the U.S. in the 1960s, Mark Morris was one of millions of young Americans who fell head over heels for the revolutionary group. "I was not immune," the choreographer says. "My sisters were mad about The Beatles and so was I. At age 12 I had a crush on Paul, of course."
Flash forward 50 years and he is still rocking to the British band, but this time with a new Beatles-inspired dance work his company is touring across North America, starting this month with scheduled stops in Seattle, Toronto, Portland, Oregon, and another 25 cities before the end of 2019.
You could call it island-hopping, but it's not exactly a vacation. After choreographing last season's Come From Away, and winning a Tony nomination, Kelly Devine zipped from frosty Newfoundland to the Caribbean beach resort that is the setting for Escape to Margaritaville.
In the fall, she was shuttling between them, before they start this month: flying to Toronto to prepare a new Canadian production of Come From Away, then jetting back to Chicago for the final stop of Margaritaville's four-city pre-Broadway tryout.
"These two shows could not be more different from each other," Devine says with a dash of understatement. Come From Away is about the small Newfoundland town where airliners grounded by the 9/11 attacks dumped thousands of unexpected visitors; Escape to Margaritaville, at the Marquis Theatre, is a comic island romance concocted from the beachcomber songbook of Jimmy Buffett.
How does someone go from being a New York City Ballet corps member to training Hollywood A-listers like Natalie Portman, Rooney Mara and Jennifer Lawrence? By getting injured, says Kurt Froman.
When an ankle sprain left him sidelined a few years back, Froman was "sitting at home, depressed" when he sent his friend Benjamin Millepied an email asking what he was up to. It turned out that Millepied had just been hired to choreograph some scenes for a movie, but had to be in Paris during pre-production. "He needed someone to teach two actors choreography and get them in shape," says Froman. With nothing else on his plate, he said yes, and started prepping Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis for Black Swan.