When you have danced as a child, it seems to be something you live and breath as you grow up. “Sorry I have dancing”becomes a common response being a dancer especially not being able to go to birthday parties & numerous other social outings even though your friends try and tell you “but you always have dancing”. It’s true you always have dancing but you wouldn’t have it any other way.
As we continue to take dance classes, competitions, workshops & audition for potential jobs, there comes a point where all you want to do is just be a dancer. All through school, telling your friends and teachers that you will be that successful dancer you see in video clips and on tv, there’s nothing else to even think about as that will be your life. Once school is over and you feel as though dancing competitions are a thing of the past, you look at full time dance courses to further your career. Once you have found a suitable full time course and either move away from home or decide to move out of home, the reality of being a dancer actually starts to happen! Of course it’s very exciting and nerve wracking at the same time but it’s what you have always dreamed of and so nothing will stand in your way of letting this dream come to fruition.
The problem is no one ever tells you the struggle of being a dancer. The low income while studying, the late nights of rehearsals and trying to work to be able to pay your rent let alone eat some food, money to even pay for the course and transportation to get there, these are all things that we don’t actually think about, the main focus is our goal is being a dancer! Now don’t get me wrong some are fortunate enough to have some help from their families to pursue their dream and their families work hard to make it happen, but others have the hard yards of doing it all themselves. The struggle is real. I guarantee you anyone that has done a full time course has a story to tell you of how they got there and how they did it tough. More than likely eating baked beans for a week or those famous me goreng noodles that can never go astray! The struggle makes you even more determined to not give up and prove to everyone that you will be that dancer.
Between studying dance full time, working late nights and weekends while trying to also maintain a social life is a skill in itself. You want to get to know the people in the industry outside of dance so you try to attend social gatherings and birthday parties whether it makes you as tired as ever the next day. Everyone is in the same boat so you know your friends will understand when you tell them you “can’t afford to go” this week as they probably can’t afford it either.
At the end of each week it’s like a celebration. You have survived! What a relief, one week down and 40 something weeks left to make it. Some days just seem like ground hog day waking up, same routine but when you think of the finished product it makes it easier to get up every day. If you can do 17 years at school I am sure 1-2 years of full time dancing (something you love, which you may have to remind yourself on those bad days) can’t be that bad.
Fast forward and here you are at the end of the course and it’s graduation time! WOW you have actually survived a whole year of this craziness. Pretty sure it feels like you should be getting a million dollar prize money like they do when they actually win Survivor on tv. You can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel when you hold the certificate or diploma that you worked so hard for. Those late nights practicing in car parks or at each other houses, those nights when you missed dinner because you wanted to save your money to be able to go to someone’s birthday party that weekend has all finally paid off. “Yes, I did it”! What a relief.
The next day you wake up and it’s all over, no more full time, endless holidays or back to work to keep paying the rent and finally can buy more food. But it hits you, you don’t have dance until… well you just don’t have dance anymore. It’s weird to think it’s all done, so now what happens? Welcome to the big wide world of pushing yourself to those auditions.. this is where the fun begins!
written by ADA