... "and I want you to know." ~ Jay-Z
I had a conversation with a girlfriend a couple months ago that still rings in my ears.
We agreed dance, as a profession, has a short timeline. Which raised the question, should we, as dance teachers, guide our students towards a dance career?.
She said something to effect of... "Well if you dance all sexy like you and merry rich that's really the only way to do it".
I was so stunned by this I didn't know what to say.
So many things were running through my mind that I don't think I said anything back. I think I may have even chuckled!
I know she wasn't meaning to hurt my feelings as we are friends, and one thing that I really admire and like about her is her honestly... and that's what I got. Her perception of my life.
So, ok. What do I do with this information/comment?
I sat on it for a couple days before sharing it with my husband. I don't really know why I waited. Maybe cuz I thought there was some truth to it?
Yeah, no. No truth. My husband and I love and support each other no matter what we have in the bank or how I move my hips.
But it did make me go back and think about the original thing we were talking about.
Why should I guide dancers to be a professional dancer when it can be such a short lived career?
Because I LOVED it!
I wouldn't take my time as a professional dancer back for anything! I learned so much and saw and experienced things I will never forget. Like being being directly involved in music history while performing with Sr. Paul McCartney as he played the Red Square in Moscow or performing in one of the most iconic videos of the millennium Britney Spears in "Baby One More Time". Not to mention Ellen, the Grammy's, the Emmy's and all the amazingly talented people I got to surround myself with.
HOLY COW!!! So thankful.
I am so thankful for my dance career...
But then what? When that's over? What are the options? How do we have a smooth or somewhat smooth transition into another career? Do we have to completely say goodby to dance? Do we have to merry "rich"?
Here's my advice....
While you're in it, working towards or having the professional dance career you've always wanted, look around you and see what else interests you.
Owning a studio?
Whatever!!! The list is endless.
That thing that you gravitate to, learn about it. Ask questions about it. Study it while building or having the dance career of your dreams. You'll be surrounded by some of the best in the biz at that point so you'll be learning and observing the best.
Take advantage of this opportunity!!! Maybe someone will even take you under their wing and show you the ropes.
This will create longevity within the industry.
I know a good number of dancers in LA that sill work in TV and film dancing who are 20 years older than me. Do they work every week or month as a dancer? Not usually. They do other things within the industry too but when a dance job comes around that they fit the mold for, they work!
For me, I chose to study acting. It resonated the most with me and after taking my first class I found it fascinating and quite challenging. Acting was my main focus.
You know what else I did? Made purses, choreography, teaching, costuming, assisting, editing, refurbished houses. All while having a dance career.
One of my students last year said, "Miss Sarah, you're always trying new things". At first I didn't know how to take that observation. I thought, "am I flakey and all over the place?" But then I realized no. I just always like to learn and gain skills.
As someone who has always been self employed, continuous learning is super important to me. I've been conditioned to always try and get the next job, meet new people, create the next thing for myself.
Some people would categorize this as hustling....
I'll wear that label with pride.
Wether you're in a dance career or any other career, keep learning and keep hustling. It keeps things interesting and you never know what doors might open for you.