Unpleasantry in the dance world?

28 Sep

I’m really into these search terms that bring people to my blog.  One of them being, “microscopic eyebrow bugs.”  But here’s one that not only made me laugh, but is actually relevant:

Why are people in the dance world so unpleasant?

Why indeed!  Dear friend, this is something that I largely attribute to three things, and contrary to popular belief, I don’t believe it’s jealousy that fuels negative behavior in the world of dance.  After all, I tend to live by the philosophy that jealousy is really just misguided admiration.  I say misguided, because I think those people simply refuse to admit to themselves that they do indeed admire someone else, and it’s their choice to be resentful that is regrettable.  I say I’m jealous of people all the time, out loud and to their faces, and nobody thinks that it’s out of spite.  So here we go, the three things that make SOME dance people so mean.

Competition breeds crazy

Competitions in general are a breeding ground for hostility, because some people never learn to live, learn and LET GO.  Not surprisingly, dance competitions are the same, but it extends into studios and companies where people are constantly trying to get noticed by teachers to get bumped up into the next level, auditioners to make it into the company, and artistic directors to get promoted in the hierarchy to soloist or principal.  Accordingly, a lot of dancers end up in a constant state of evaluation of themselves and others, which like all things in life is fine in moderation.  A lot of people see competition as good motivation to push themselves, and a fraction of those people cross a line when the fool themselves into thinking sizing up the competition and putting them down is going to make them a better dancer.  WRONG.  These are the kind of people that need to be shaken silly and reminded that dance is first and foremost an art.  Competition is just an aspect of dance, like salt in a cookie…it should be there, but it’s not the dominant flavor you taste.  That’s one thing I really took away from my limited experiences in modern dance, and I’m not talking lyrical…like actual modern dance.  People are much more supportive of each other, with no egos (or at the very least suppressed egos), no hierarchy and it makes for a more productive environment.  It’s an attitude that can be applied to any dance form, but I do suggest for people who can feel their mental fortresses buckling to try a modern class, see the difference in how people act, and take that with you to whatever it is you prefer to dance.

Opinions…MY opinion

We all have a desperate and human need to have our opinions be heard.  Why do you think I write this blog?  People are always talking, but with the advent of the internet, anonymity came into play which turns people into little demons (the YouTube piranhas for example).  Suddenly, people feel more courage to talk when they know they can say whatever they want and not be responsible for it.  This is why I personally, try to always write and comment on things in a way that I would not be afraid to say to that person’s face.  Just because it’s the internet, it doesn’t mean I’m excused from being responsible for my words, and it’s the jerks who take that for granted we all have to watch out for.  I mean, heck yeah if I had the opportunity I might tell Angel Corella he pirouettes like a tornado…but I’d say in a way that ensures he shouldn’t take my opinion seriously.  That’s a problem with the internet…there’s no intonation or context to frame some comments with, so they come across as abrasive when many times people are trying to be constructive.  But on the flipside, people should consider exercising restraint in some of the technical advice they give, because they forget the context with which to frame the situation…most dancers do have teachers after all!

Not being what you are

The last and my favorite is addressing the issue of being yourself.  Being the dancer you are, not the one you were, wish to be, or even the one you “think” you are, because that becomes extremely problematic.  People who overestimate their abilities are setting themselves up as hyena bait, and people who constantly say “I suck” get really old, really fast.  So if you feel pressure and negativity from people around you, make sure you’re not making yourself a victim.  I should know, because I’m pretty prone to self-deprecation, and still struggle with it to some degree.  Unsurprisingly, on days when I think I’m worse than I actually am, I dance worse, and feel cranky.  Not being yourself makes anyone and everyone cranky, so don’t put yourself in a bad mood by doing so.  It’s important to note too that it’s not just a matter of a dancer affirming who they are, but the audience as well.  So many YouTube sharks are attacking people who post videos all the time, and it’s like “dude, you just harpooned some poor adult beginner’s recital.”  Again, a lack of information has caused some hot-tempered moron to lambast something they didn’t understand.  Even with professional dancers and companies, you can’t expect Royal Ballet quality from say, a local company.  Royal Ballet has more money and resources to create more elaborate sets or hire more acclaimed dancers.  It’s downright shameful that some people criticize some production out of the whazoo just because they know what major companies and internationally acclaimed dancers are like.  It’s evil, and an irresponsible use of knowledge.

So there you have it…my theories as to why SOME dance people are unpleasant.  And again, I say some because there are many wonderful people in the world of dance, and it’s a matter of conditioning ourselves to identify with positive rather than negative behavior.  It’s like that saying about how one bad apple can ruin a barrel, or if you watch the Deadliest Catch, you would know that if one Alaskan king crab dies while in storage, its carcass releases a toxin that will kill all of the other crabs.  Fortunately, we as humans have a greater capacity than apples and crabs, and can reverse the trend with good vibes and a genuine smile.  So my fellow dance fans, ducklings and such, we kind of have a sucky reputation right now…let’s do our best to fix it, shall we?

Ok, that's actually a Japanese spider crab, but I don't have any pictures of an Alaskan King Crab (same order, but different family).  Just be impressed that I picture of a large crab at all.  Oh, and the human is my friend Liz.

Ok, that's actually a Japanese spider crab, but I don't have any pictures of an Alaskan King Crab (same order, but different family). Just be impressed that I even have a picture of a large crab on hand. Oh, and the human is my friend Liz.

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2 Responses to “Unpleasantry in the dance world?”

  1. Nichelle September 29, 2009 at 10:23 pm #

    I’m just loving your posts! They always make me smile – keep up the great work!

    • youdancefunny September 30, 2009 at 4:35 pm #

      That’s what I like to hear! Thanks for stopping by!

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