Impact Dance Productions is pleased to feature Christie Manning the Creator and Editor-in-Chief of Industry Dance Magazine!
“IT ALL STARTS WITH CONFIDENCE” by Christie Manning
With 175 + dance studios just in the lower mainland, there are hundreds of thousands of dancers, just in BC alone, leaving their home studio every night with the wish of becoming a professional dancer one day. With the competition being so stiff, how do you set yourself apart? It all comes down to one thing: Confidence.
Before you nod your head and say, ‘Yeah yeah, I’ve heard that before,’ really listen to what I have to say. I want you to think about some of the best dancers you know. What makes them so good? What really sets them apart? Is it the fact that they can do nine pirouettes into a front aerial and land in the splits? Not necessarily. I know some incredible breakers that can’t do nine pirouettes, unless it’s on their head. It’s not the tricks. It’s not their cool hair style, or tattoo down their arm, or even their Free City sweatpants. It’s their confidence.
Every strong dancer knows they aren’t the best, but they know they’re not the worst either. Many dancers suffer from a strong sense of ego, and not in an arrogant way. Most suffer from it more in a self deprecating kind of way. Thinking “I’m not good enough” is coming from a place of ego just as much as “I’m the best” is, it’s just on the opposite side of the scale. There is nothing wrong with acknowledging that you’re talented. Read that again. There is NOTHING wrong with acknowledging that you’re talented. It’s how you present and conduct yourself with that knowledge that matters.
1. Don’t put others up on a pedestal.
Putting your teacher, your choreographer, TV stars, or even your fellow dancers up on a pedestal just keeps you at a place of ‘less than’. You are not worth less than them, are not less than them, just because you think they are stronger, better, more experienced than you. Their training or experiences do not lessen YOUR value. They may be further along their career path than you are, but everyone was where you are at one point along the way.
2. Everyone’s path is different.
One of the most frustrating things in a dancer’s career is that there is no one way to get to where you want to go. There is no diploma or master’s degree you can take that’s a surefire path to success. Every single artist will take different steps towards the career they would like to have. Therefor, it’s also one of the most beautiful things about our career. We have the option, the power, the opportunity, to shape our own career and lifestyle. There are hundreds of thousands of paths we could choose to take. By being confident and understanding who you are as an artist, you can make the appropriate steps towards the future you would like. It will be different from the dancer standing beside you. And it should be.
3. Don’t compare.
One of the most damaging things an artist can do is compare him or herself to others. This will never create anything positive. It is extremely unhealthy and a complete waste of time. You can idolize someone as long as you’d like, you will never be them, no matter how hard you try. And thank god. You will never be as good as the are, because you aren’t them. You are YOU. Why be the second best version of someone else when you could be the best version of yourself?
4. Figure out who you are.
Understanding who you are and where you fit in can be one of the most difficult processes a dancer will face. But what comes with the discovery can be career changing. It is a dancer’s responsibility to figure out what they are passionate about, and where they fit in with in the industry. What makes your heart the happiest? Working with a contemporary company, being on set, touring with an artist? Then ask yourself the hard questions. Do I have the body type and the skills to do what I want to do? If not, where would my body type and skills be most valued? Your goal is to match the two together.
5. Don’t let what you can’t do, discount what you CAN do.
You have skills you have been working hard on your whole career. Just because someone else has skills you don’t have, doesn’t devalue what you DO have. Be confident in the skills that you have. Know what you’re good at, and own it with all your being. Continue to train, work hard, and always be open to learning and growing, but be proud of your accomplishments. The strongest artists out there know what they are capable of, understand their value, and represent themselves as such.
At the end of the day, you just need to remember one thing: Be the best version of yourself. In an industry ( especially in Canada) where there are more artists than there is work, you must remember to keep the focus on yourself. Don’t be distracted by who is doing what, when, where, and how. All you need to focus on is what YOU can do, where YOU want to go, and how YOU are going to get there. Friends and colleagues will come and go, but the relationship you have with yourself is the most important. And that relationship should come with a side of confidence.
Christie Manning- Editor and Chief of Industry Dance Magazine
Blog made possible by Danielle Gardner Founder&CEO of Impact Dance Productions
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