Caiti is a marketing account manager/dancer/nonprofit director/girlfriend/daughter, hoping to help other "dancer-slash-blanks" keep dancing and tackle their goals.
DANCE. WORK. Yes, it is a balancing act.
But what about these: SCHOOL. FAMILY. WORKING OUT. FOOD. RENT. TRAVEL. FRIENDSHIPS. INTERNSHIPS. RELATIONSHIPS. All the –ships.
As dancers and working professionals, it’s usually not as simple as, “This is my career, and this is dance, my lil’ weekend side hobby.”
The scale is more like, “This is my career, then this is my competing dance team, my exhibition team, the studio I teach kids dance at, my friends dance projects/videos, that one performance at that one show…”
Oh, wait, where’d that “hobby” thing go?
And I know this plight isn’t singular to my own life as a dancer/marketing account manager/nonprofit director/girlfriend/daughter. Often times, I have dreaded making plans with other dancer-slash-blank friends. It’s like a puzzle or equation of, “I work during the weekdays, you work on the weekend, then I have rehearsal at night on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and you have it Tuesday, Friday and at night on Sunday…” which usually ends with, “Maybe I’ll just visit you at rehearsal” or “Let’s try again next month.”
So how do we live a “normal” life then? Where we continually pay attention to ourselves and our health AND our family AND our relationships AND our careers. Where we do things like go to the gym regularly and eat healthy and make spontaneous plans with our loved ones.
Unfortunately, my response to that is: you really have to try harder to make time for all of the “normal” people tasks (please use a calendar). Sorry: but “normal” may never exist for you. But why would we want that? We all need to figure out a way to function in society as a human being, but why would we want to settle for “normal”?
Here are 10 reasons why you’re lucky you’re not “normal” (in no particular order).
You always have plans.
Yeah, yeah, sometimes it’s annoying, but it’s hard to be lonely when you are pulled into 15 different sets of plans, or know the entire dance community schedule so you can butt into whatever you want.
You have friends.
Plenty of them. You have your bestie in each group you’re a part of, plus your non-dancer friends. You have that friend who is always down to go to the fundraiser or show, and that friend you exchange looks with at rehearsal. You and your friends have a bond stronger than most. It’s fantastic and hard to talk about to non-dancer people who have literally five friends and five friends only.
You rock at multitasking.
You get more done in a single day than other people do in a week. You can wake up, go to work, lead a meeting, make formations on your lunch break, go back to work, finish your project, meet friends for dinner to plan out dance stuff, practice/choreograph on your train ride to rehearsal, rehearse until midnight, then go to bed and do it again. You’re a boss and a leader, you know how to get things done. Just try not to forget your laundry and feeding yourself.
You are an artist.
It’s true, no matter what you (or I…) tell yourself, you are creative and artistic. You like to think outside the box and you have REALLY cool people and community around you constantly, which can only help you in other areas of your life. Embrace your art, dude: you’re unique.
You are (probably) not racist.
The dance community is hella diverse, in more ways than one. Even if you come from a closed-off childhood, surrounding yourself with people from different backgrounds, food, dress, style, friends, sexualities and interests will push away ignorance. The only way to empathize with the world is to experience it yourself, and you most likely have friends with cultures different from your own.
You are active.
In the U.S. at least, being active can be a struggle against super size me foods and taking cars everywhere. I for one should go to a gym once in a while more than I frequent, but I relax at the thought of dancing 10+ hours a week normally, if not more. We love what we do and our mind (usually) doesn’t catch on that we are actually working out, too.
You don’t have that “one” regret.
I have spoken to multiple ex-dancers who regret giving it up. They wish they had made more time for it and appreciated it more in high school or college or whenever. They feel like it’s too late to start again. Keep dancing, and that regret does not exist.
You are a performer.
Performing is one of the greatest adrenaline rushes ever. You get to become characters you never would have had a chance to do in every day life. If you’re timid, you can be sexy; if you’re aggressive, you can be subtle. There’s nothing like being in the spotlight and leaving your heart on the stage.
You get to be emotional.
Okay, all you “bottled up” friends out there just HEAR ME OUT! This is a serious positive. Most dancers can recall one time, if not more, when they were completely vulnerable during a rehearsal or performance. Our battle wounds become the team’s battle scars and fuel us to become better dancers. We don’t always get this type of freedom at work (thankfully) or even with family or other friends. You openly hug and cry and laugh with other dancers. It’s not just accepted, but welcomed. It’s cathartic.
You get to dance.
Be honest: most of us don’t dance just for the friends or for the spotlight. We dance because it’s special and our very own. You have something that no one can take away from you, even as you get busier or dance less; your memories are even unique. No one else truly knows how dance makes YOU feel, and that’s probably why you’ll always figure out a balance.
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