- Hip flexibility will get you farther than hamstring flexibility
Like I keep mentioning, nobody fucking cares that you can do the splits. The splits are a trick for the layman. Hip flexibility gives you the ability to move in and out of the floor more easily and to sink into that deep second position that is so often your tactical stance with which to catch someone, fall, or just create a shape. We need hamstring strength for this, as well as strength from all of the little stabilizing muscles in your core.
- If you want to stand out, moving your fucking head
The head is really the scariest part of your body to move. Why? Your eyes are on it. I know I know, I just blew your goddamn mind. But your eyes control how much the audience believes about the space in which you’re dancing. This is difficult because your sight also affects your balance and sometimes the flow of your energy, and making your gaze unstable can be scary. So many dancers are versatile with their bodies but are afraid to look either 1) away from the front/audience or 2) the floor.
- Dance is as diverse as anything else
We tend to have a very western view on dance, seeing ballet as the King and european/American modern as the stepdaughter and contemporary as the cool new kid on the block. But what about African dance? African commercial dance? And Africa is one big continent with as much different dance as europe. And what about dance from Japan and Korea and Chile and Brazil and India? There’s an entire world of movement to explore and be inspired by. I’m not talking just about folklore dance either – especially since most of us are equally unfamiliar with european folk dance as we are with the rest of the world.
Of course, Ruth St. Denis took it a little far with all the cultural appropriation, so we don’t want to blatantly steal, but can we at least look at dance as more than ballet/modern/theater from America and western europe?
- Versatility is important, but you need to be really, really skilled at something
It’s important to be able to do ballet, to do jazz, to do hip hop, to do different types of modern. It’s important to be able to pick up any kind of movement and perform it with some level of proficiency. But you don’t want to scatter your focus so much that you’re unable to become an expert in any one thing. Everyone should have (look at me say that like I have any authority, ha!) something – one thing – that’s theirs. That one type of movement or style or technique that you get into so deeply that you own it. We want to avoid a jack of all trades, master of none scenario. We want a jack of all trades, master of one (or more, but some of us are only human).