Expert speak: Here’s what you should know about dance as a career
Passion is at the forefront of anything that you want to do in life. Each of us is blessed with a talent that is unique to us. When you enter a dance studio, you should feel at home; there is a sense of belonging. Passion for dance will come from within and it is this passion that will make you realize that you were born to dance. If you are not passionate about dance, after a while either it will start feeling like a “job” or you will stop enjoying the experience of choreographing, learning and dancing.
Dance is a holistic activity for the mind, body and soul. Using dance as a medium of physical activity and creative outlet helps channelizing the energy in a resourceful manner. Dance is a great way to release energy, shed inhibitions and let out emotions. When you dance you sweat, and you release ‘feel good’ endorphins that make you happy. Good music, good dancing is a great way to be in a happy state of mind. Music in itself is therapeutic. Dance is a physical interpretation of what the music says. Good music, good dancing is a great way to be in a happy state of mind. The teaching pattern is interactive and communicative ensuring that the learning process is fun and stress free.
Technically, to make it a profession, one must be flexible, agile and have an understanding and knowledge of music and rhythm. Being a versatile dancer will give them an edge of being able to adapt to different movements and dance styles. Dance is not just physical experience, but a mental, emotional and spiritual one too. You need to be mentally strong to sustain hours of rehearsals, years of struggle and decades to find acceptance. If you have a grounding in either ballet or Indian Classical dance forms, your foundation will be extremely strong. These styles form the basis and prepare you for any other dance style. In terms of technique, understanding of the body, positioning the weight, balance… the overall understanding and adaptability becomes easier.
People now see dance as a respected, viable career option. Not only dance, but any form of art or the performing arts have found longevity in terms of not only staying hobbies but being taken up as full time professions. Whether as a performer, dance instructor, choreographer or entrepreneur in the field of the performing arts; there is a plethora of opportunities. Being a first-hand witness through the transitional phase of western dance in India, the last thirty years have been a revolution of sorts. I’ve observed a positive and impactful change in people’s attitude towards dance as a career. The industry has opened up tremendously, arts and culture have become hugely popular and in effect people don’t fear making their passion a profession. This transitional change in people and the overall market has opened doors.
From hitting the gym to going for a run and controlling your diet, some people find it hard to find the motivation to get fit. Get why not dance your way to fitness. An amazing cardio vascular workout, you can build your stamina, increase your flexibility, tone your muscles, gain strength and get fit by doing what you love to some great, upbeat music!
Everyone has a calling, a talent that is unique to them and something that they know is their dream. If dance is yours, then go for it! There is nothing more fulfilling than going after your dream and following your passion! As a dance instructor and choreographer, you will get the great gift of all, passing on your knowledge. You will get to teach people of all ages, inspire people and heal them through the power of the performing arts. You will make a livelihood doing what you love, dance! From teaching to performing, from dancing on stage to dancing in films, from teaching students to choreographing sangeets, the opportunities are endless!
Dance evolves all the time. There is something new to learn and you’ll forever keep rediscovering ways that your body can move, choreography that your mind can think of and a fresh way to make your spirit fly! There is never a dull moment in a dancer’s life. You will be motivated always and inspired by dancers around the world!
Very often, dance opens opportunities in many fields. You can learn costume designing, video and music editing, set and stage management, production and much more. With dance, this can be your gateway to many more opportunities!
(Shiamak Davar is Bollywood Choreographer and Artistic Director at Shiamak Davar’s Institute for Performing Arts)