Many people consider going to big cities to study dance. I know as a young dancer that was surely an option that crossed my mind. But, for whatever reason, I went to a college in a smaller metropolitan city. The attraction to big cities for many dancers is the exposure to industries where dancers are heavily needed: Broadway musicals, movies, cruises, or even theme parks. Being drawn to areas that thrive off of events such as these is understandable. But, when you are studying dance in college or a university, your goal should be to not only learn dance. You should also focus on learning as much about the stage, various movement styles and the human body that is available in that school’s dance curriculum.
The world of dance is so much more than just choreography. Learning about the various aspects of the stage, various movement styles and the human body will make you a better dancer. So many dancers get “stuck” on just learning choreography. It is in the best interest of all dancers to expand their minds to include other areas surrounding dance that will help them, not only be more technically astute dancers, but will also equip them with more expansive knowledge that would extend their career in the dance and stage world, beyond their physical capabilities. As a young person you may not be able to imagine this now but, your body will not always function and move like it does right now. Smart dancers prepare themselves for this transition by equipping themselves beyond the physical.
How do you equip yourself beyond the physical? You do this by continuing to build up a strong foundation. As a younger dancer, your instructor prepared you for movement with classes that allowed you to move freely, to express yourself freely through dance. In the same manner those classes also began acclimating you for structured creativity, where you began harnessing your creativity and focusing your ideas and abilities to fulfill the requirements of the class assignments, whether it was working within a structured dance class environment, working on individual choreography or working with a group of other dancers. As you have continued through your life as the dancer you are today, you have been building on to your foundation. All your instructors have been different in some aspects. Some prepared you for more solo work or for competition, while others have encouraged your abilities in choreography. Your next step, college courses and college instructors, will continue building onto your dance foundation.
Practically any college or university will continue to strengthen your dance foundation. The university’s job is to research the instructors they hire to ensure that those instructors reinforce the mission and goals established by the dance department. So, those instructors will be bringing their A’ game, and you will need to bring your willingness to soak up any knowledge they present to you. Along with the instructors, take a look at the overall curriculum of the dance department. Does it offer courses in various dance techniques, stage, acting, kinesiology, choreography, etc.? Again, these and other courses not named will help well round the dancer and expose them to all the areas of dance and stage.
That’s what a dancer’s aspire for, not necessarily a college or university in an area focused on reaching the dancer goalbright lights and cruise shipsbut their energies and research should be directed toward finding and attending a college or university that will help them become the best dance they can be and so much more.