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What It Takes To Be A Dancer

What It Takes To Be A Dancer

Several years ago I worked for a designer who also collaborated with the NYC Ballet on their costumes. It was always amazing to see how focused and committed each dancer was to their craft. Even more amazing how they worked through injuries, blizzards, pretty much everything to always give a flawless performance.

Since I was little every December seeing The Nutcracker Ballet performed at The Met has been a tradition. This year in awe of the always amazing performances by these ballerinas I reached out to Wendy Dressler to get a little more insight on just what it takes to be a dancer. 


Dance is, and always has been, an expression of emotions set to music. This is why the combination of beautiful music and artistic dance is so moving to those who watch it. For a dancer to reach this artistic level, they must mold their life around their craft.


 What Is Required To Be A Good Dancer?

A good dancer is always in training. It does not end when they leaves the dance studio. A dancer must always be aware of her body and health. She must have the stamina of any other athlete. She will practice for many hours. She trains herself to count minutes, not hours. She works as long as necessary to reach her goals.

A dancer must maintain full control of every muscle in her body, at all times. She must have supernatural flexibility and be able to fold her body in half. She will have to be able to carry three times her body weight while standing on her toes.

This is a snap-shot of her daily life.  With this in mind, it is clear that she will do things differently to attain success.

Selective With Her Personal Time

A dancer trains her mind to be totally committed. That extends beyond the studio. Her time is limited, so the people that she allows in her life are very important to her.

This trait also bleeds over into other aspects of her life. She is a very steadfast student and she is a valued and loyal employee. Everything in her life has a place and she guards them carefully.


Always Ready To Dance

A dancer is always ready for the next thing, whatever it may be. She keeps a sharp eye on opportunities that present themselves and moves on them quickly. Understanding the importance of being at the right place, at the right time makes the difference for each role. Her dance bag is always at hand and always in order.

Her bag contains:

  • Leotards
  • Warm-up clothes
  • Dance shoes
  • Resume and portfolio
  • High-quality protein snacks
  • Hair bands and hairspray
  • Water bottles

She Knows When To Take A Break

Every dancer knows the importance of rest and recovery. This is not a luxury. If she does not replenish her body, it will not function at peak performance. She sets a time when she is finished for the day and when that time comes, she stops. Most dancers try to combine their restful times with her evening meal.


Self Critique

There are always instructors who will critique your efforts. However, most of the time a dancer spends training is by themselves. Being able to adequately self critique is essential. Using video equipment and mirrors help her to evaluate her skills as an instructor might. Most important is knowing when she has succeeded with a technique and is ready to move onto the next.

Maintaining Good Health

Like an athlete a dancers physical ability is their job. Because she is so intuned with her body, she recognizes when something is off and addresses it quickly. A dancer will maintain her health with nutrition, fresh water, exercise, and all natural supplements.


Let It Go 

Above all else when the curtain goes up it’s time to leave all the training and practice backstage. This is the time for a dancer to trust all their hard work has paid off and let it all go while sweeping the audience away on a beautiful journey.  

Thanks Wendy! 

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