Versatility in professional dance means several different things both inside of your actual dance skill set, and outside in regards to your professionalism and talents off stage.
Versatility within dance means that the more diversified your skill set the better. The more dance styles you are exposed to and proficient in, the more hire-able you are as a dancer! It is also important to take note of which dance styles are the most marketable and which aren’t. Within the commercial world the styles of Hip Hop, Street Jazz, Jazz funk, Contemporary, Latin styles, and Freestyle are often the most popular. Within the Broadway, Musical theatre, and Cruise ship worlds styles like Tap, Jazz, Musical Theatre, Modern, Ballet, and Aerial work are the most popular. There is of course some cross over, and this doesn’t mean that you need to train intensely in every single style of dance, but it does go to show that if you have a diverse skill set you are more marketable.
Versatility as an overall performer and artist outside of dance can benefit your dance career and expose you to opportunities you never thought you would get! Before I was a dancer I was a full time Martial Arts competitor and instructor. I also have been playing guitar for many vears. Both of these talents have either booked me jobs as a dancer or allowed me to have a creative ear for music and an ability to arrange music in different ways. Versatility as an artist also offers you parallel career paths. Do you think you have a look for print modeling? Do you act? Sing? Cook food? Mix music? Style hair? Take photos? All of these side hobbies and more can turn into other creative outlets that will not only diversify your earning power, but will also diversify your life so that you don’t burn yourself out on just dance all day every day.
Pursue hobbies outside of dance, and also whet your movement pallet with dance styles outside of your immediate comfort zone. This week, try at least ONE thing that you have been afraid to try within the arts! This could be a dance class, an acting class, going to a club and freestyling, showing your choreography to your mentor, asking a teacher for critiques, taking Bikram yoga… its totally up to you!
All that matters is that you continue pushing yourself in your art because, rest assured, there will always be someone else. Someone else who is younger, more talented, and willing to work harder then you currently are! Stay motivated and keep pushing for your dreams. The growing never stops!
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