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 firstname.lastname@example.org.