While it's smart for a director to recognize your strengths, developing other aspects of your artistry can help you be considered for a greater variety of roles. Thinkstock

Tired of Being Typecast? Try These Tips to Expand Your Range.

I always dreamed of being a lead dancer. But since reaching my goal, I feel stuck performing the same bravura roles year after year. I want to do more expressive parts, too. How can I expand my range?

—Typecast, San Francisco, CA


Casting often favors a dancer's strengths. In your case, it sounds like you're being given roles that emphasize your technique. Yet it may be possible to transform yourself into a performer who excels at more nuanced roles by developing your artistry. One way to do that is to find a new teacher who emphasizes these skills. An acting coach can also help you delve into the motivation behind different roles. In addition, it's useful to study videos of performers you admire and incorporate what you like into your dancing.

Let your director know that you are working on these areas and would like the opportunity to understudy roles that will help your development. Remember: Serious dancers are perpetual students. Learning how to perform outside of your comfort zone, while continuing to be true to yourself, can prepare you for more diverse repertoire.

Send your questions to Dr. Linda Hamilton at advicefordancers@dancemedia.com.

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TaraMarie Perri in tree pose at Storm King Art Center. Photo by Sophie Kuller, Courtesy Perri

5 Self-Soothing Exercises You Can Do to Calm Your Anxiety

Physical stillness can be one of the hardest things to master in dance. But stillness in the bigger sense—like when your career and life are on hold—goes against every dancers' natural instincts.

"Dancers are less comfortable with stillness and change than most," says TaraMarie Perri, founder and director of Perri Institute for Mind and Body and Mind Body Dancer. "Through daily discipline, we are trained to move through space and are attracted to forward momentum. Simply put, dancers are far more comfortable when they have a sense of control over the movements and when life is 'in action.' "

To regain that sense of control, and soothe some of the anxiety most of us are feeling right now, it helps to do what we know best: Get back into our bodies. Certain movements and shapes can help ground us, calm our nervous system and bring us into the present.

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