Advice for Dancers

By Hamilton, Linda | Dance Magazine, June 2010 | Go to article overview
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Advice for Dancers

Hamilton, Linda, Dance Magazine

Are all company members mean to underlings? Every year a few dancers from our school get to perform with the main company. And we always get snubbed! We aren't allowed to talk to them not even to say that they're standing in our spot. Can't they remember what it was like to be in our shoes? I wish!


Scarsdale, NY

Every dance company has its own hierarchy some more democratic than others. It's up to you to find the best fit. I've Known companies where ballerinas socialize with corps members and apprentices, but in others, principals won't give them the time of day. Remember that many factors contribute to dancers' behavior in a company, n an ideal situation, you would feel welcomed into the dance family regardless of your status. Think of this as a learning experience for the future: Once you're ready to look for a job, you'll already Know you don't want to work in this type of setting When in doubt, look for a harmonious atmosphere versus simply getting a paycheck.

Can I open my own dance studio without having been a professional dancer? I had a late start in ballet because my family didn't have money, but I've taken many classes in my teens and now 20s. Any advice would be great!


Southampton, PA

Of course you can open your own dance studio. However, it pays to do your homework. Why don't you start by teaching at another studio? You might also consider taking dance pedagogy courses, such as American Ballet Theatre's national training curriculum (, and getting a subscription to Dance Teacher magazine ( You can also deepen your knowledge by earning an online certificate in "Safe and Effective Dance Practice" that focuses on anatomy, physiology, nutrition, and injury management in all dance genres. The International Association for Dance Medicine & Science (IADMS) in partnership with Trinity College in London offers the most up-to-date information for training dancers to handle today's demanding choreography with its mix of techniques ( under "Resources"). Then once you open your studio, you can teach to your strengths. If you feel you lack sufficient experience, hire a part-time teacher for the advanced students. Just make sure this person understands healthy dancer guidelines.

My feet are killing me! Ever since I joined one of the best dance schools in the country, I can barely stand on pointe. I love the technique, but their policy about not padding your toes to make your pointe shoes narrow makes no sense to me, What can I do?

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