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12 Things I Know Now, That I Wish I Knew In Dancing School

19 Oct 2016 10:19 AMLauren Nairne
12 Things I Know Now, That I Wish I Knew In Dancing School

Gosh the amount of tears you shed, hours you wait stressing and wasted lessons you spend angry because you didn’t get the lead role.  Really, I promise you it will have no impact on whether you get into a professional production/gig or not.  Here are the 13 biggest lessons I know now that I wish I could tell my 13 year old dancing self!



  1. Being in the front doesn’t matter!!!  No I’m not kidding, I promise it really doesn’t matter whether you’re in the front line or the back corner.  It does matter that you act as part of the team though, that you work hard whether your in the back or centre front


  1. If you work hard in every class your teachers will notice.  They don’t and won’t praise you every class but they are watching, they notice.  Don’t work hard for them though work hard for yourself.


  1. Trophies are just dust collectors.  You don’t go into an audition clutching your CV with ’10 & Under Jazz Champion 2015’ written across the top.  Competitions are a great way to make friends, create lasting memories and get some good on stage experience but it’s not about whether you win or lose, that part doesn’t matter.


  1. Being the ‘best’ in the room doesn’t get you a job.    Gosh, there are a million things that go into casting.  Hiring the ‘best dancer’ isn’t usually one of them.  Having a nice personality, being easy to work with, fitting the costume, having ‘the look’ they are after.  All of those points will more than likely come before they choose you because you’re the best dancer there. 


  1. Didn’t get that solo part? Get over it, it’s not because they hate you.  It may come as a shock but solo parts don’t just go to the dancer that the teacher likes the most.  (well hopefully not anyway).  There is lots of careful consideration that goes into every step, every place and every part that’s given in every routine.



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  1. Be a nice person, it actually matters! Other competitors, adjudicators, guest teachers, teachers, other parents.  You never know who you are making an impact on and whether you will come across this person further into your career.


  1. Secrets get you nowhere! Do you keep your castings a secret from others, do you not tell someone when applications are closing or when a great audition is coming up?  Stupid, remember what goes around comes back around and the next time that person/people have something that may help you… you get the point.


  1. Learn to pick up choreography quickly.  It makes a huge difference in an audition.  If you can pick up the choreography quickly you’ve got more of an opportunity to make sure you’re getting all the finer details right, adding performance and feeling confident when it comes to your performance in front of the panel.  It also shows that you would be able to learn the show/gig quickly saving the company time, money, energy and resources. 


  1. ‘Figure it out on the other side’ is actually a really awesome skill to master!  Someone may go down with injury in the middle of the performance and you need to think on your feet and replot your position rework the choreography.  Being known as the person that adapts easily and can quickly jump between positions, changing legs and thinking quickly is an awesome asset to a choreographer, director or casting agent.    


  1.  High Kicks only matter at the Moulin Rouge!  If you’re not born with 180 degree turn out, you can’t get your leg past your head on both sides, don’t worry! What matters is that your strong, you show solid technique and that you won’t injure yourself in the first week of shows because you know how to listen to your body.


  1. Enjoy jumps, leaps and turns while you can.  Great your side split is over 180 degrees and you can hold a leg mount for 10 minutes… In reality only about 10% of the jobs you will get in your professional career will you ever use them! Unless of course you spend your entire career in the opening scene of a chorus line… 'Step, kick, kick, leap, kick, touch… again!’


  1.  It’s not about being skinny.  Surely we know that by now.  It’s not about how much (or little) you weigh.  It’s about being and looking the best that you can, being strong, fit and most importantly healthy.  It’s about making good choices and knowing what works for your body.


  1. (Bonus Tip!) Listen! It’s amazing the amount of times in your professional career you will hear the same corrections, similar notes or something that was said to you over and over as a kid.  Teachers don’t talk to hear the sound of their own voice.  Listen and understand what it is they want you to do and why, every little piece of advice be it good or bad that you can take with you into a professional career will make you more hireable and more prepared. 


What tips would you add to this list?


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