I hope that title was click-bait-y enough for you.

  1. THE BRUISES. OH GOD, THE BRUISES

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Yeah, I bet you thought you’d just be floating around on your tip toes like a dainty, whispy ballerina. NOPE. You’re dive rolling and smacking into bodies and moving around like your knees are your feet. You’ve got handprints on you from where you get caught when you fly through the air and crash into your partners, again and again in rehearsal.

In reality, of course, you probably won’t bruise too much if you’re landing in the right spot or with enough softness. But whatever the choreography requires….

2.  YOU GO THROUGH KNEEPADS WEIRDLY FAST

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At least they’re way cheaper than, say, pointe shoes.

Also, you need to wash those things because knee sweat is a real, legitimate issue for some people.

3. YOU THOUGHT YOU WERE GONNA LOOK PUT TOGETHER? NOPE.

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Your dance clothes are going to smell, and you’ll need layers, because you dance primarily in the northwest. You’ve got six pairs of similar but slightly different black pants in your locker, and your tank top is probably going to clash with your sweatshirt. Throw away the image of the elegant ballerina in a black leo and pink tights.

You’ll probably look put together onstage, maybe.

4. YOU WILL BECOME (TOO) COMFORTABLE WITH YOUR DANCE FRIENDS/PARTNERS

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Yeah, Ben, we could only afford a two bed hostel room, so we’re gonna bunk up, and then you’re totally gonna not drop me when we perform.

5. YOU WILL GET TO TRAVEL MORE THAN YOU’D EVER IMAGINED

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Thanks to dance, I’ve gotten to travel coast to coast to train and perform. I’ve been so lucky to go to: Seattle, Portland, Las Vegas, NYC, Washington DC, Durham (NC), Cedar City (UT), Boise, Missoula…I’ve gotten to see so many awesome things and meet so many awesome people. I’ve become a professional at sleeping on airplanes.

6. YOU ACTUALLY HAVE TO READ A LOT

IMG_9213There’s so much to dance that you can’t and won’t learn in a classroom! Choreography theory, history, choreographic critiques…Dance is physical but to truly understand it, you have to start reading.

7. YOU GOTTA STAY COOL UNDER PRESSURE

IMG_0667The button on your pants will fall off, like, five minutes before you need to be backstage. You will injure yourself. You will forget choreography with an audience to witness it. You will trip on the ridiculously long skirt you got costumed in. You aren’t going to panic, though, because you’re a goddamn professional.

8. YOU’RE GOING TO FIND THAT YOUR BODY IS HELLA STRONG

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After being a littttttttle chunky in high school, you’re going to get so empowered when you realize what you’re capable of. You’ll discover how good it feels to move, and you’ll find out how much easier dancing is when you cross train by running and lifting weights. You’ll realize that your body is fucking awesome, and so you start to treat it really well, and it rewards you with strength and stamina.

9. YOU HAVE TO MARKET YOURSELF

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You know. With head shots, dance shots, business cards, a website. A BLOG. Choreographers aren’t going to knock on your door, but you’ll be ready and easy to find when they do.

10. YOU’LL MAKE SACRIFICES

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You will miss birthdays and family gatherings because you are at intensives or need to be at rehearsal. You get Bs and Cs in school because you’re more concerned with rehearsing and choreographing than writing essays.

11. YOU HAVE TO LEARN HOW TO DO YOUR MAKEUP

I probably would have continued my life in bliss, wearing only mascara and moisturizer had I not had to get up onstage ever. I went from being clumsy with my eyeliner and not even owning foundation to having a legit stage makeup routine. Yeah, I know what primer is. Yeah, I can do winged eye liner. Yeah, the Sephora lady taught me how to contour. I got this.

12. YOU HAVE TO LEARN TO VIDEOTAPE YOURSELF

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I have become a grand master of propping my iphone/real video camera up on tables and against shoes and dancing in a small area so I can get a good shot of myself, either for my video reel, for my own review, or to remember choreography.

Also, you will learn that dancing for the camera is a lot different than dancing in a show, and that when you dance in the snow for a film festival entry, you will learn that jeggings were a bad choice.

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