Ultimately, life boils down to two things:

What you do, and whom you do it with.

Of course all of us love dancing. What we do is filled with passion and hunger and love.

And whom we dance with is just as important –

Our dance community fuels us with the inspiration, support, and feeling of connection that makes it all worth doing.

So build these relationships! Maintain them! Respect them! Treasure them!

See Related Article: How To Cultivate Positive Relationships In The Dance Community

These are some ways to make the most of what the dance community gives to you, and you to it.

1. Be Careful Of “Fangirl / Fanboy -ing”

Of COURSE we are all fans of our dance idols!! But it’s important to see the people we look up to… as people.

The more you mystify your inspiration, the more out of reach they will seem, and they will remain in your mind as “ideas” rather than as “people.”

When you get the opportunity to meet your favorite dancers, shake their hand and introduce yourself!

They can become a friend, a mentor, or even just an acquaintance – but you must allow for that chance by not letting your fangirl-jitters turn YOU into being awkward and unapproachable!

Let’s break down that invisible barrier, yeah? We’re all here to dance together 😘

See Related Article: 11 People In The Dance Community That Must Be Stopped

2. Support Other Dancers!

Be genuine and generous with your kudos!

Advertise your friends’ classes!

Tell them great job when they kill it!

Give constructive criticism!

Share peoples’ videos!

Throw your shoes at people!

“YAAAS” til your trachea hurts!!!!

SPAM THEIR INSTAVIDS WITH HEART EYES EMOJIS!!!!!!

Whatever way you go about it, showing love and support for other dancers is NEVER going to go unnoticed or under-appreciated.

See Related Article: How To Build A Network In The Dance Community

3. Support Other Teams

My heart fills with so much warmth when I see dance teams at competitions showin’ love to each other.

Even just a comment like “Good luck out there!” and “Yo, you guys were dope!” or small gifts, posters, shoutouts via social media..

All of these gestures go to show that we are all connected and really just want the best for each other.

I mean, we all share the same interest and have good intentions – so great relationships are bound to arise.

It doesn’t matter if you’re “competing” “against” each “other” – we’re all in this together.

So show ‘em love! (And host mixers, ayeee!)

See Related Article: The Evolution Of Our Global Dance Community

4. Be A Good Team Member

If you are on a team, then who you are as a dancer will largely be defined by who you are as a teammate.

The people closest to you with the most exposure to your “dancer” role are the ones that are going to be experiencing, contributing to, condoning, or improving your social behavior.

Don’t be the “Always Late” or the “Chronically Lazy”!

Build a good rep for yourself from within the family.

See Related Article: 7 Unique Ways To Keep Your Dance Team Motivated

5. Practice Class-Taking Etiquette

Taking a class is a sacred experience for a lot of us!

And the dancers you share that experience with have a lot to do with it.

See Related Article: The Ultimate Guide To Taking A Dance Class For Beginner Dancers

Everyone in that room has the same objective to learn and grow, and you’re all a part of each others’ journey for 1 to 1.5 hours.

So make the most of it and be the best class-taker you can be!

See Related Video: How To Get The Most Out Of Dance Class

6. Be Open To Meeting New People

To me, there is nothing more promising or beautiful than the simple act of extending your hand and saying “Hi! I’m ___.”

See Related Article: How To Thrive In A New Dance Community

Since we all kind of get that all of us are in the same community, if you run into a dancer you don’t know, then it’s perfectly appropriate to say “Oh I haven’t met you! I’m ___.”

OR to even go up to someone after a class and say “You were amazing! I’m ___ by the way.”

Wouldn’t you be glad that they did if someone said that to you? Wouldn’t you appreciate how outgoing they were?

Most of the time, we’re waiting for the other person to make the first move. Why not be that person??

See Related Article: Are You One Of These 17 Dancers?

7. Show Genuine Effort To Grow

The dancers I want to be around aren’t necessarily the big-names, the well-known, or even the super-talented.

They are the dancers who are eager, hardworking, and hungry.

See Related Article: How To Become A Better Dancer

If you are truly a reflection of the people closest to you, then I would want to represent those who are striving, growing, those who set goals, those who make plans, who train creatively, practice smartly, and feed own their passion.

If there was someone who was freaking amazing – but complacent, versus someone who was always reaching for more… it’s no question. I’d want to be friends with the latter.

If you are like this, then I promise – people will gravitate towards you.

Who wouldn’t want to be around someone whose desire to grow is so contagious, that it makes YOU want to become better, too?

See Related Article: 8 Things Great Dancers Do Differently

8. Contribute What You Can

No matter how heavily we are involved in dance, all of us have lives outside of it.

Which means: We all have different skills and talents and services to offer each other.

See Related Article: Behind The Dance Lens With Gerald Nonato And John Shih

You’re into graphic design? Volunteer to make flyers for workshops!

You like planning events? Organize a fundraiser for your team!

Like baking? Bring cookies to your next practice!

If you’re a good listener, be an ear for a teammate!

You like writing? Submit content to our blog!!!!

Seriously. E-mail me for submissions! [email protected] 😉

There are so many things you can do to add flavor and awesome-ness to the community.

Do what you can, where you are, with what you have! 

See Related Article: How Cookies Inspired A Movement In The Dance Community

9. Remember That Placing Is Arbitrary

First or last place, it has become (kinda unspokenly) agreed upon that placings are not the true gauge of anything competitions. It’s great to earn acknowledgement and feel proud, of course!

But the things we like – from style, costumes, themes, staging, facials, whatever – is up to each viewer.

The hundreds, thousands who watched the show or the video will each have their own unique opinion. Yet most of the judging at competitions is done by 5 or less judges.

But the scoresheets don’t speak for everyone, and we know that!

See Related Article: 10 Types Of People You See Leaving A Dance Competition

Often, when my friends and I “debrief” after shows, we categorize what we liked not by “1st 2nd 3rd”s, but by “that team’s costumes” or “that guy in center for that piece” “their opener blocking thoooo.”

It doesn’t do a performance justice to just name a top 3 as an accurate summary of who was best.

Show support for every performance by noting what you loved, and don’t get too caught up in the competitive side of dance.

10. Don’t Be That Guy/Girl…

The dance community is a mecca for attractive young adults.

Pretty girls and cute guys… that can dance?!

Yes PUHLEEZ.

But wait.

So many potential friendships get prematurely tossed because one of both parties enter it with romantic intentions, and things don’t work out from there.

In the same way, you’ll be forever awkward around that girl you try to get at until you quickly learn that she has a boyfriend.

See Related Article: Why Are Dancers So Attracted To Other Dancers?

It’d be difficult to come off as having pure intentions if you exclusively approach dancers as potential hookups or relationships partners.

There are a lot of ways to build a solid foundation of friendship and camaraderie with someone, but being “thirsty” certainly is not one of them.

See Related Article: The Pros And Cons Of Dating A Dancer

The dance community is an interesting place.

It’s this niche microcosm of relationships and interactions.

The more deeply you get involved in it, the more intuitively you understand how powerful, amazing, and important it is.

It gives you SO much love… So do your best to love it back! 

What else do you think is important in making the dance community more positive? Leave a comment below!

This article was originally published on December 14, 2014.