Competitive. Fierce. With a hint of poise. It’s easy to spot a dancer. They know that perfection demands upwards of ten hours of practice a week. They have the awards, medals, and occasionally the blisters of a die-hard performer.
As someone who hasn’t left the dance studio since age three, I have found it impossible to give up one of my biggest passions. In fact, I narrowed my college search in high school by only considering places with a dance program, because it was (and still remains) important to me to pursue. As a dance minor in Loyola’s Department of Fine and Performing Arts, I have explored a variety of styles, including ballet, pointe, modern, and jazz. I have also studied dance educational philosophies and learned more about the “behind the scenes” of dance with regards to muscle movement, injury prevention, and nutrition in classes like dance pedagogy and dance anatomy. Having instructors with different dance philosophies and teaching styles has forced me to be adaptable and flexible from one semester to the next. I have learned the importance of perseverance, because when I bring my baggage to class, not only is my progress stifled, but others in class lose out on opportunities to be inspired and learn from me, as I often do from them.
Additionally, I sought out dance clubs as a way to spend more time dancing and performing throughout the school year. I auditioned for Loyola’s hip hop dance club, Scorch, and gladly accepted a position. Weekly rehearsals have made me manage my time and prioritize my fellow dancers even on weekends. Performing several times throughout the semester means I have to be a team player by learning the choreography quickly and practicing on my own so that our group as a whole looks good during shows. Often, rehearsals involve a critique session where one half of our group watches the other perform a routine and offers feedback and suggestions. This has allowed me to see what others are doing well that I may want to adopt, and has also been a great opportunity to practice receiving and applying constructive criticism.
It’s easy to spot a dancer. We are driven people who stand out in a crowd because we move with purpose and grace. What employers need to know about those of us who grew up in a leotard and tights is that we are perfectionists. We will be our harshest critic, and because we know the exhilarating feeling that comes after a great performance, our motivation for this hard work is overwhelmingly intrinsic. Dancers know pain, we know sacrifice, we know creativity, we know flexibility, we know teamwork, and we know how to own a stage solo. All of these relentless characteristics cannot be contained to the studio, and have bled into every aspect of my life, including school and professional opportunities. As a dancer, this is what I bring to the table, and this is what will make me a unique addition to any team.