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Dancers & Teachers in Transition

Aktualisiert: 11. Juni

The longer I am working in the dance scene the more often the subject of transition passes by. Why is that the case and what does this situation tell me about my own perspective and perception?

Teaching and performing for more than 33 years now, I am currently more and more often poked by questions via social media and personal interviews about how I perceive my age, my dance style in comparison to younger dancers. Further more, questions such as "Should I stop dancing on stages?", "Do I still have to offer something to the audience?", "Why should people want me as an `aged´ dancer to perform for them?", and many more questions leading into this direction.

At this point, I am not diving deeper into the very complicated subject of age and expressions such as "aged dancer" or "older dancer". Remember: "Retirements" of stage performers in some dance arts start already at the age of 30 or even earlier. I mean... hello? Can you please briefly think about this incredibly inappropriate word "retirement" in terms of such a young age! The fact that, with starting dance, you will hear that you have to "retire" early is even more inappropriate. This suggestive statement already solidifies the fear of the supposedly early end of a dance career, not even giving a chance to think of what else could be possible after the highly active performance or teaching phase in one's career.

What does social media do to us `aged´ dancers?

Trying to analyse the basic question behind all these earlier mentioned and quite suggestive questions, I figured out that uncertainty of the inquirer and the search for idol-ship of the latter is mostly the background of these questions.

Hence, social media is both a blessing and a curse. The ability to connect worldwide in a few seconds offers new opportunities and therefore many traps. Seeing all these talented beauties (with beauty-Photoshop or not) in more or less outstanding performances or workshops leave doubts about one's own value and one's reason for being.

Therefore and firstly, all interviewed persons need to understand that it is not a question concerning their dance life but of interest for the inquiring person. So keep calm and continue dancing!

However, transition will be a subject to deal with - earlier or later

Assuming that all dancers do want to perform on stage as long in their career as possible, dancers often do not think of teaching until it comes to the point of not being able anymore to execute the needed dance techniques on stage. "All of a sudden", they are falling into a hole of depression and despair. Their lives seem to break down like a house of cards.

Let's change the point of views and approaches to this sensitive matter called transition

I would like to give you impulses to open your mind in different directions when it comes to the point of "no return". Indeed, I don't see this point of "no return" - return to what or where? This point only exists when you believe in being forced to retire. That is why you should stop thinking that way!

So, let's see how transition can be seen apart from a situation of disaster and despair.

I would like to invite you to fill-in the gaps of following sentences from a positive perspective regarding your future as a dancer and/or teacher.

Words of transition - thoughts of transition - perspective changes...

Perspectives that will make you think about your value in terms of being additional, respectively having additional potential:

  • As a dancer, I do have experiences from dancing on stage and this...

  • When I see older dancers on stage, I see .... which I could offer, too.

  • Showing my experiences as a performer on stage will transmit not only ... but also ...

  • As a long-time performer I can ... or ... the audience, for example.

  • Besides a lot of fun on stage, I provide as well ... as ...

Perspectives that will make you think about emphasizing your value:

  • Indeed, if I wouldn't perform on stage the dance scene would lack a dancer of...

  • Also, my movements ... my knowledge of cultural background.

  • Of course, my ... is/are a prove of being an idol for others.

  • Certainly, as a performer/teacher I am always...

  • Especially when I am performing/teaching, ...

Perspectives that will make you think about the order of your value:

  • Firstly, my strength as a performer/teacher lies in...

  • Secondly, I am a great performer/teach because I...

  • Thirdly, people would miss my performances/teaching owing to ...

  • Finally, performing and/or teaching means ... to me.

  • At this time, I realize how much positive ...

Perspectives that will allow you to compare your value to your current doubting situation:

  • Sharing my experiences on stage/in class is like...

  • Playing with the audience/working with my students is as if ...

  • I am as passionate on stage/in class as ...

  • Taking care of myself is equally important ...

  • I am spreading my knowledge about dance similarly to ...

Now that you have had the chance to change your point of views and to become aware of your own value you also should stop doubting about your value as a performer and/or teacher.

Advice from a personal lived situation

  • When you start dancing make sure you also have other interests which you like to follow and in which you like to invest some time besides dance.

  • Search for friends who are willing to tell you their point of view about your value for the dance scene. Make sure they are not just repeating what you might want to hear!

  • Try to make a step aside in order to see yourself as part of the whole dance scene. Figure out where your place is in this scene and what you can do to help develop dance performances and/or dance classes.

  • Start learning how to teach, in times that you are still performing. Like this, you will be prepared for day X and the "the point of no return" will not be perceived as a tragedy.

  • If you are not interested in teaching don't even think of it! Teaching dance is a complete different profession than dancing on stage - these are two jobs! Both of them have strict and clear requirements which have to be fulfilled for a successful career.

  • Depending on the dance art you are in, you might need to start searching for "a life after dance" earlier or later. This does not mean that you have to stop dancing ever. It just means that you need to find a TRANSITION of your gained knowledge. There is much more you can do in the field of dance than "only" dance or teach dancing.

More researched information on a scientific base on this topic and many others are available for our academy-insiders. Watch out and become an insider, too!

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