Find The Right Dance Style For YOU
August 12th, 2019 by Elizabeth Radabaugh
One of the coolest things about dance is that there are so many different styles. It’s amazing to have a dance style that you’re comfortable with, but what if you expanded your boundaries? My advice to any dancer is to try out every style you possibly can- it’s important to find all the dance styles that work for you! Who knows, you may find you have a passion for a dance style you’ve never even heard of!
In order to explore different kinds of dance, you have to be unafraid to try new things. It is very easy to settle into a comfort zone – especially if you’ve been studying the same style of dance your entire life. Starting a new style of dance doesn’t come without it’s hurdles. The feeling of starting from square one may be frustrating to some dancers who are already so experienced in their area of expertise. There’s a chance not everything will come easy, but maybe some things will! Either way, the key to trying something new is not being afraid to fail. If you stick with it, you’ll grow from your failures in no time! Plus, there’s a huge chance that what you already know in one style could easily apply to the new genre you’re learning.
If you’re trying out a new kind of dance, you’re not starting over as a dancer. You already have experience under your belt, so think of it as enhancing your training. One of the cool parts about dance is that many different dance forms influence each other. Skills gained form one style of dance have potential to translate to a multitude of different styles. For example, the lineage of contemporary dance can be traced back to ballet, and African dance had a huge influence on the creation of jazz dance. There are endless connections that can be drawn between styles.
Most forms of dance were actually created by mashing together a whole bunch of different influences. Today we have wonderful new styles like hiplet (a combination of hip-hop and ballet) to prove that this process of mixing styles to make something new is still happening. So if you’re trying out a new dance, make sure you bring what you already know into the process. If you’re a contemporary dancer who thinks you don’t know anything about tap- think again!
Don’t Give Up!
Even if learning a new style is a challenge for you, don’t give up when the going gets tough. Think of how you were when you started dancing. Odds are, not everything came naturally to you. Even if it seems like this new style isn’t your forte, give it some time! If you apply the same amount of time and effort as you did in your other classes, you will grow! It may be frustrating to be told to do something differently when you’ve been so used to doing things a certain way, but trying new things is a great way to expand as an artist. If you keep trying new things, you may have more fun than you expect. Life is more fun when you paint with all the colors on the canvas! Along with all of those different experiences comes the chance for more opportunities!
Many professional dancers today have dipped their toes into several different styles of dance. If you dream of being a professional dancer one day, it’s smart to learn as many different styles as you can. In many professional settings, you’ll be expected to know a little bit of everything. Knowing different kinds of styles means that you’ll have more opportunities in the future! Who knows, you could find yourself tapping on stage in a Broadway musical and dancing in a ballet a week later. You can even bring what you know from multiple forms of training together into one performance to make something new and incredible! Don’t limit yourself as a dancer, be a chameleon of dance! Many of the most successful dancers are well-rounded.
Don’t Throw Away Your Shot
If you’re feeling doubtful that you can succeed in something you’re unfamiliar with, there are plenty of examples of successful dancers who have started out in one style, but had an amazing time exploring new venues. A perfect example is our very own StarQuest alumni, Gaby Diaz. Although she entered season 12 of So You Think You Can Dance as a tapper, she won by proving she can pull off any form of dance they threw at her, from hip-hop to contemporary, she could slay them all! Sasha Hutchings, from the original ensemble of the hit Broadway musical Hamilton had a passion for jazz and yet she wouldn’t have been cast in Hamilton without some serious hip-hop moves! These are just two examples of many whose lives have changed from trying out something new. You never know when a new dance could take you in a new direction.
So why not give a new dance a shot? You may be surprised just how much you enjoy it. It’s not about leaving what you know behind, but expanding your passion for dance to new boundaries! New styles of dance could lead you to new friends, new opportunities, and new chances to have fun! Always keep what you know close to your heart and bring it with you to every new dance experience. Who knows, maybe you’ll find that trying something new could lead to an even greater love for dance.
Aran Abilock is a writer for StarQuest. He loves mac and cheese, theatre, and all things Pokémon!