If we look back through time, dance has come a long way since the days of royalty and court dancing. We lace up our pointe shoes, we tap in high heels and we put underwear shaped pads on our feet for modern class. Modern, ballet, tap and even hip-hop dancers used to have their own separate styles, not to be overlapped. Times have changed, and as we continue we are constantly fusing techniques together to create new styles of dance. As dancers, we have to make sure that we aren’t limiting ourselves to be “one trick ponies.”
It is important for a dancer to study multiple techniques of dance. If you watch So You Think You Can Dance we have seen it time and time again. A dancer amazes the judges in the audition round, but the judges aren’t sure that the dancer can do any other style. They head to a “choreography” round where they are challenged in many different styles of dance. The versatile dancers continue with the competition, and the dancers who are not get cut.
So You Think You Can Dance is certainly not the only reason dancers should be studying multiple techniques. In this day and age most professional auditions call for dancers with various technical skills. It may not be on the audition listing, but a ballet audition might have a contemporary portion. Many modern and contemporary dance auditions include a ballet barre so the company director can see if a dancer has been formally trained in ballet. If you show up to a jazz audition and at the end the director asks if anyone can tap, you have a much better chance if you are ready with your tap shoes and say “I can!” when all the other auditionees cannot.
Dance companies these days have to be versatile as well. They may be asked to perform at a hip hop venue when their prominent style is contemporary. This means they have to have dancers that are flexible; mentally, physically and within their own dancing. Don’t be surprised when you get to a dance audition and the company director asks you to “improv” to a crazy sounding song. Embrace the moment and take that chance to show how versatile you are.
Maybe you aren’t planning on ever dancing professionally, but you really enjoy dancing. This applies to you too! You would be surprised at how your dancing changes and develops as you begin to study more techniques. Not only are you training your body how to do multiple things, increasing your coordination and strengthening different muscle groups, but you can also improve the dance technique you love by studying another technique. Ballet dancers may experience a greater understanding of their bodies and more mobility within their center once they start studying modern. At the same time, modern dancers may become more controlled in the off centered moments that modern may require, because they study ballet.
No matter where you are in your dance career, it is important that you don’t limit yourself by only learning one dance technique. Try something new, you might be great at it and learn something about yourself you never knew before!
For more information on the classes we offer at Atlanta Dance Central, check out https://atlantadancecentral.com.