Amanda LaCount. Rich Clark Photography, Courtesy LaCount

"If We Want Our Industry to Welcome All Body Types, We Need to Reevaluate How We Interact Dancer-to-Dancer."

Hip-hop dancer Amanda LaCount reflects on the biases she's encountered as a plus-size artist—and how dancers can be more supportive of one another. Inclusion starts in the studio, says LaCount.


How you treat other dancers matters. 

Plus-size dancers still face biases when it comes to booking gigs, but, says LaCount, demeaning comments from fellow dancers can do the most damage. When growing up at a competition studio, LaCount says, "I was getting bullied on a daily basis by people who were supposed to be my friends and teammates. The only reason I ever questioned the way I looked was because of other people." She acknowledges that the field is already so competitive, so these comments often come from a place of other dancers' own insecurities. If we want our industry to welcome all body types, we need to reevaluate how we interact dancer-to-dancer.

Make auditions more approachable. 

Full-figured dancers may be nervous about attending open calls because they don't want to be labeled by their body type. "So many are scared to audition for amazing opportunities for plus-size dancers because they don't want to be put in that box," she says. While it can be difficult for dancers to embrace their size in an industry that favors thin, the more plus-size dancers put themselves out there, the more opportunities they'll have in the industry.

Embrace your shape.

To those who are feeling insecure about their figure, LaCount says: "Thank goodness you don't look like anyone else." It can be hard not to compare yourself to other dancers, but it's an essential step in generating confidence. "Just because you're different doesn't mean you're wrong," she says, reminding dancers that their ability to move an audience is what's most important. "If I have a body that can dance," LaCount says, "I'm going to dance."

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CalArts dance students. Photo by Josh S. Rose, Courtesy CalArts

4 Reasons Interdisciplinary Education Can Make You a Stronger Dancer, According to CalArts

After years spent training in their childhood studio, it can be hard for dancers to realize exactly how many pathways there are toward career success. The School of Dance at CalArts aims to show its students all of them.

Built with the intention to break barriers and bend the rules, CalArts' interdisciplinary curriculum ensures that students take classes that cover an entire spectrum of artistic approaches. The result? A dance program that gives you much more than just dance.

Last week, Dance Magazine caught up with Kevin Whitmire, assistant director of admission for CalArts School of Dance, and recent alum Kevin Zambrano for the inside scoop on how an interdisciplinary curriculum can make you a stronger artist. Watch the full event below, and read on for the highlights.

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July 2021