12 Dance Stars Share the Worst Advice They Ever Received
Raise your hand if you've received bad advice from well-meaning friends or family (or strangers, tbh) who don't know anything about what it really takes to be a dancer.
*everyone raises hands*
Sometimes it's even dance insiders whose advice can send you down the wrong path. We've been asking pros about the worst advice they've ever received in our "Spotlight" Q&A series, and rounded up some of the best answers:
Miami City Ballet's Nathalia Arja
Arja in Symphonic Dances. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev
Her answer: "I've been told, 'be the best' but I completely disagree with that. I believe that the best advice you could give to a dancer is 'be YOUR best and every day try to be a little better than yesterday.' That's my mind set—I think that's a healthy way of thinking for a healthy career!"
B-girl and choreographer Ephrat Asherie
Photo by Christopher Duggan
Her answer: "Someone told me to always have another dancer in the corner of my eye to compare myself to 'because that will push you to be better.' I actually believe the opposite to be true. Your inner drive to grow has to far outshine any external stimuli or comparison you may draw with someone else. That will give you longevity and sustenance. As my breaking mentor Richard Santiago (aka Break Easy) once told me, 'The biggest battle you'll have will always be with yourself.' "
Pacific Northwest Ballet's Leta Biasucci
Biasucci in Coppélia. Photo by Angela Sterling
Her answer: "You should straighten your hair more often."
Commercial darling Emma Portner
Photo by Quinn Wharton
Her answer: "That I shouldn't move to New York."
The Washington Ballet's Ashley Murphy
Murphy in Giselle at The Washington Ballet. Photo by Theo Kossenas
Her answer: "Stay where you are comfortable."
Tap dancer and choreographer Caleb Teicher
Photo by Sally Cohn
His answer: " 'You'll sleep when you're dead!' is a common expression. I disagree—I have to sleep while I'm living, too..."
Former NYCB and freelance star Kaitlyn Gilliland
Photo by Don Norman @don_nor_man for L.A. Dance Project
Her answer: "Don't think too much."
Martha Graham Dance Company's PeiJu Chien-Pott
Photo by NYC Dance Project
Her answer: " 'You will never be able to dance again after you have a child.' As a matter of fact, I auditioned for the Martha Graham Dance Company twice, two years apart. The first audition was before I had my daughter, and I was not picked. The second time was right after I had my baby, and I was hired!"
Pennsylvania Ballet's Sterling Baca
Photo by Alexander Iziliaev
His answer: " 'The best thing you could do is just kinda mark the whole thing so you are able to get through it.' I would rather fall on my face giving everything I had."
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's Hope Boykin
Photo by Matthew Karas
Her answer: "I will never forget being told that I had learned all I could where I was studying at the time, and that I should go and try something else. Ultimately, that is what I had to do, but I never worked harder to stay on the path I knew was meant for me. I would never speak to a student in such a way, but it didn't deter me. It only pushed me toward my goals."
San Francisco Ballet's Sarah Van Patten
Photo via YouTube
Her answer: "That I'll never be able to do something or that a specific role isn't for me. Anything that makes me feel limited."
International guest artist Joy Womack
Photo by Vihao Pham
Her answer: "That the best thing an artist can be is a blank canvas."
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On August 20, pop goddess Lizzo tweeted, "Someone do a ballet routine to truth hurts pls," referring to the anthem that's been top on everyone's playlists this summer. Lizzo might not know it yet, but ballet dancers are not known for shying away from a challenge. In the past two days, the internet has exploded which responses, with dancers like Houston Ballet's Harper Watters and American Ballet Theatre's Erica Lall tagging the singer in submissions.
Below are a few of our favorites so far, but we're guessing that this is just the beginning. Ballet world, consider yourselves officially challenged! (Use #LizzoBalletChallenge so we know what you're up to.)
If you think becoming a trainee or apprentice is the only path to gaining experience in a dance company environment, think again.
The University of Arizona, located in the heart of Tucson, acclimates dancers to the pace and rigor of company life while offering all the academic opportunities of a globally-ranked university. If you're looking to get a head-start on your professional dance career—or to just have a college experience that balances company-level training and repertory with rigorous academics—the University of Arizona's undergraduate and graduate programs have myriad opportunites to offer:
Yes, we realize it's only August. But we can't help but to already be musing about all the incredible dance happenings of 2019.
We're getting ready for our annual Readers' Choice feature, and we want to hear from you about the shows you can't stop thinking about, the dance videos that blew your mind and the artists you discovered this year who everyone should know about.
New York City–based choreographer and director Jennifer Weber once worked on a project with a strict social media policy: " 'Hire no one with less than 10K, period'—and that was a few years ago," she says. "Ten thousand is a very small number now, especially on Instagram."
The commercial dance world is in a period of transition, where social media handles and follower counts are increasingly requested by casting directors, but rarely offered by dancers up front. "I can see it starting to show up on resumés, though, alongside a dancer's height and hair color," predicts Weber.