I have met thousands of dancers over the span of my 15+ year long involvement in dance. Everyone's commitment to dance is different, ranging from the casual flash mob participant to the studio owners who have invested their entire adult life to educating and training the youth. And for each of these people, they will all inevitably face the same question: Can I keep dance in my life? Family, work obligations, major milestones in life, injuries: all of these will challenge dancers, pulling them away from the art and culture they are a part of.
For some, the answer is simple. Dance is no longer a priority in their life. I admit there are several artistic pursuits that I have chased for a while, and given up - some after only months, and others after more than a decade of study. For you guys out there with dance at the bottom end of your to-do list, my hope is that the inspirational articles and personal anecdotes found on this website may serve to reignite your passion for dance.
Dance has helped me. I made this site hoping that dance can do the same for you.
The impact of hip hop dance on me has metamorphosed dramatically over the years. From my initial exposure to it in the 90s, it had served a juvenile purpose: it was an after school distraction, a release of athletic energy at a time when organized sports were unappealing to me, and a vehicle to start conversations with girls. As I became more exposed to the choreography scene in the 2000s, dance became a confidence-building team exercise that allowed me to grow into myself, a venue for my creative side to flex it's choreography muscle, and an enjoyable workout at that point of my life when eating on a budget meant ramen noodles with beef jerky. And when I joined the professional urban dance scene in Chicago in the late 2000s, it became a skill that could be converted into an additional paycheck, the entry point into a vast social network that allowed me to develop long-lasting friendships with a diverse crowd, a key that unlocked amazing performance opportunities alongside multiple Grammy award winning musical artists, and a portal that instantaneously transported me away from the stresses of a grad school program I was wildly unqualified for.
Since my initial involvement with dance, it has improved me in almost every way: physically, emotionally, mentally, and socially. I am certain that dance has functioned in a similar capacity for many others. In the account of some of my friends, dance has saved their lives.
The people who can benefit the most from this resource are those who are unsure of how to balance their artistic passion with career. Many of the articles on this website are a written documentation of my personal experiences of how I kept up with dance while completing my PhD in Neurobiology. Throughout this time, I learned a great deal about a broad range of topics that helped me understand the intersection of the world of dance with the world of professional career aspirations. Due to the constant pressures of academics, I unknowingly developed a host of time management techniques that maximized my ability to be productive, in turn giving me more time to continue dancing despite the hefty workload of higher education. Over time, I amassed an expansive network of dancer friends, many of whom are still dancing while working an unrelated non-dance career. I have collected many of their stories, hoping that these guest articles may serve as a reminder that if other people can do both - so can you.
But I'm a full-time professional dancer!
Yes! You have a far more challenging road ahead of you, and I applaud your decision.
I personally did not choose this to be my life's route, so I'll be perfectly honest: I have less to offer you. I have never signed with a talent agency, I rarely audition anymore, and I haven't actively sought any new teaching opportunities within the past couple years.
- BUT -
There are still articles on this site that are written with you in mind. The life of a professional artist is always so busy, and time management techniques will apply to you, no matter which art you claim. The inspirational articles can serve you well. And dancers get injured ALL the time: There is also some physical therapy related information that might come in handy.
I believe that this resource can influence anybody out there who is interested in dance. So head on back to the home page or get searching for some motivation!
- Austin Lim, PhD