“Because if you want to work as a dancer in the current world, you have to be able to create your own opportunities, they don’t get given to you on a plate.”
I have questioned many a time whether I can officially call my self a professional dancer.
Even when working for the Royal Academy of Dance I would have to pay to go to evening dance class, so did that make me professional or not? To pay to continue my practice surely would mean that this cannot be my profession? Yet I would be teaching dance all day and in productions when and if I could fit them into my schedule.
I often questioned the amount of time I would spend travelling to and fro work as opposed to teaching/participating/rehearsing/performing. Yet would still always aim to earn enough through dance to be living comfortably in London (the cheap rent I managed to find definitely helped!!). I often felt like I was a professional London Transport traveller, knowing tube lines and connections by heart and getting the timings of these down to a T!
I am now paid to attend dance class, however as I now live in the Scottish Highlands there are not so many for me to attend (hence the time to ramble on like this); so now I am officially a professional dancer and get paid for what I used to pay for. Yet I used to get the opportunity to dance more, making it feel like then I was almost more professional than I am now. I love how Megan Preston here questions what makes us dancers; what defines our profession and what state it is in.
Preston’s article also summarises that as dance artists we need to be more than just that; we need to learn to market, do administration, advertise, do our own fundraising and make our own connections. We have to be many things; a multitasking, business owning, self-employed (or sometimes employed) dancing superstar! But yet we question whether we are professional dancers or not? Or maybe it’s just me and Megan Preston.
Anyway thought I would share this thought provoking, dance industry questioning article as not only does it do all that but it is simple and straight to the point.