One of the blessings of producing competitions is the ability it gives us to work with dancers from all walks of life. Year after year, we’re lucky enough to be introduced to a new generation of fresh dancers, each with their own ideas about how our community works. Many of these ideas are great, and help elevate us all to higher heights. Others… not so much. So in honor of all the dancers who have come and gone, here are a list of things that have served some community veterans well, and a couple that’ve just got to go.
1. Don’t Be Hugging All Up On Your Man During Auditions.
Yes, this might not seem annoying to the average person. But trust, it happens, and it’s annoying. Anyone who has survived a team audition knows that although dance is our passion, when we’re auditioning for a team, it’s all business. Dancers know that you’re not just being judged on talent. People are paying attention to your work ethic, how you present yourself, and how dedicated you appear to be.
All of those things go out the window if you’re making kissy faces with your Bae while waiting in line to get your number. There’s a time and place for everything, and right now, you have other things to worry about.
2. Don’t Let Your Mama Go Up And Criticize The Judges If Your Team Doesn’t Win.
We’re glad your parents love you, but really, having them walk up to the judges booth screaming, “When you watch the videos on Youtube, you’re gonna realize how stupid you are,” is tacky.
The judging panel at dance competitions is made up of people who’ve fought hard to get where they are. If you disagree with their verdict, find a way to voice your concern respectfully, or at the very least, talk about them behind their backs, like normal people do.
3. When Times Get Tough, STICK IT OUT.
In this era of instant gratification, and constant team hopping, it’s easy to walk out on your team if things don’t go your way, or you don’t get the pieces you want, or you feel like you’re not growing as a dancer.
But anyone who has ever worked their way up from the back of the formation to the center knows the truth: DANCING AIN’T EASY. The Keone’s, Mari’s, Vinh’s, and Beniga’s of the world didn’t get to where they are by dipping when the going got tough. They stuck around, and earned their stripes.
The grass isn’t greener on the other side. The grass is greener wherever you stay, water the grass, and pluck your weeds.
4. Your Darkest Hour Can Become Your Finest Moment.
What the fanboys and fangirls of the world don’t always realize is that all teams go through up’s and down’s. Teams will be on top of the leader board one second, and be in last place the next. Rosters that were once 60 dancers strong, can very quickly lose many dancers in an instant, and that’s OK, because it’s normal.
Years ago, T.M. lost many of its members due to some deep internal struggles within the family. We went from a huge company of seasoned performers, to a small team of new dancers, many of whom lacked the skills necessary to produce the sets we were accustomed to. Everyone in the community thought that our best days were behind us. (And to be honest, so we did we for awhile.)
Luckily, we were all WRONG. The “newbies” ended up bringing a new energy to the mix, igniting a passion and love for each other and for the company that had been missing for awhile. They climbed slowly but surely from the bottom up, and eventually helped put us back on the map.
Now those very same dancers are “oldies”, and have not only become some of our brightest, most talented stars, but are also considered to be the heart of our company. Teams rise, teams fall, and all teams rebuild, and the ones who do it the best cherish the good times AND the bad.
5. Winning Isn’t Everything. Being Relevant Is.
Don’t get us wrong. Winning is fun. We like winning. Our community is made up of teams that like winning a lot. That being said, winning isn’t a goal, it’s a side effect. It means you’re producing stuff that means something. It means you made people FEEL something. Too many of us get caught up in the trophy, which, (let’s be honest), just ends up collecting dust at someone’s house.
If your only goal is to prove you’re better than everyone else, then you’re in the wrong line of work, ‘cuz in this world, someone’s always better than you, and in this community, everyone’s pretty much gunning for your spot. Focus instead on creating work that will leave people talking, and that you can be proud of.
…Unless of course there’s prize money for winning. If that’s the case, fight tooth and nail, sabotage other people’s music, and leave banana peels lying around. Just kidding!
6. Lastly, Remember Where You Came From
This community was built with love by people who have long since been forgotten. We love our AOV’s, Cookies, GRV’s, and our Jabbawockeez, as well we should, but there are thousands of dancers that have literally helped build the stage that our favorite teams stand on. Reach out to your alumni and find out how they walked the journey that you’re on right now. Research your own team’s vast and varied histories, and speak to your village elders, because they’ve got some stories to tell. Remember us, and know that we are so excited for all the great things you’re about to accomplish.
What words of wisdom would you share with new dancers? Comment below to share with us!
Are you new to being on a team? Check out our comprehensive guide to being on a dance team!