This week, the students in the dance department at ASU are really privileged to have access and exposure to some of the members of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in our classes. They have come in and given wonderful pieces of feedback and insights on some of the projects we are working on as well as give some wonderful technique classes. Today, though, we had a bit of a discussion about life as a dancer after college and in the professional world. I was really excited to get to talk about this with them as this blog just so happens to be about that very thing!
During the conversation, I took a moment to look around the room of all the dancers sitting and laying in the semi-circle, eyes fixed on the three speaking professional dancers giving their insight into this world we hoped to be a part of in some way, and I was thrown back into my high school dance program where college students came and talked to us about college and dance. And I remembered how many of them went on to do other things besides dance in college, I believe only four of us in my graduating class went on to study dance at the university level. So, I began questioning how many of us will actually go on to wholeheartedly pursue our aspirations to be whoever we wanted to be in the dance world.
There seems to be a theme of artists in many fields diving so deep into their craft because of the sense of escape they were able to find from the real world. It’s no secret that living life is often an uphill battle for everyone. No matter the ethnicity, background, gender, sexuality, financial status, life seems to have a very “equal opportunity” approach to dealing out everyone’s fair share of crap. So, it seems to be quite understandable as to why artists dive deeper and deeper into the space where the paint fumes, melodies, or our own moving body makes everything insignificant to what we are doing at that very moment. But, what can an artist do to maintain the authenticity of that place to escape to when the crap life deals begins to seep in?
Essentially turning your passion into your profession is doing just that, inviting the reality into your place of escape. I am seeing it as visiting Disneyland vs living at Disneyland. How can you maintain the love for Disneyland when you can see all of the faults in the system?
I guess my mind went to this place because I wonder how the dancers in the company do it. They tour an average of about 30 weeks out of the year, which was unheard of to me, but is something I will have to learn how to adjust to since I want to be in a similar position. I know how bored I get with a video game when I play it all the time, and I just do not want the overexposure make me want to set dance down like I do video games.
The next step is to just ask my faculty and other professional dancers how they maintain their passion for dance, and try to apply those things when I feel the boredom or unrest beginning to set in. I’ve got to be Proactive! haha