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Dance Stereotypes?

PVA Dance/Ballet 35 Michelle De Guzman
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on 30 November 2015

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Transcript of Dance Stereotypes?

Dance Stereotypes?
| Michelle DeGuzman

"Oh... You're a dancer."
From talking to one of my teachers, I've heard crazy assumptions on what non-dancers think, professional dancers are. Since the world has expanded and dance has become more than what it was (styles, stigmas, genres) people might not know what dancers really do for a living. Ballerinas, Strippers, Street Performers, B-boys, B-girls, Ballroom champs, which one are you? A few of these may come to the mind of some people, others only one or none at all. Not everyone has an optimistic view of how broad a "dancer's" definition may be. I found this one of the ones to include because, I think it's really interesting to see what profession "dancer" can mean!
"Why is SHE in the front?"
Media expresses dancers to be a specific look. Starters, it is advertised everywhere to see skinny ballerinas and similar looking girls.
Media Stereotype #1: You must look a certain way.
Then there is the huge controversy with male dancers and sexuality.
Media/Life Stereotype #2: Boys should stick to football.
In fact, none of these stereotypes are necessarily true, as time passed these stereotypes that most people were concerned about has been worn off. It's not as big and drama-filled as it was before. It is so interesting to see posters, ads, and magazine covers of dancers who always end up looking like the last dancer you saw. It is what makes the dance world so bias to what look every dancer should strive for. Also, male dancers are now being encouraged to dance and less bullying occurs. It is so fascinating what time and new perspectives bring to old issues.
Conclusion
To answer the real question, "Do dance stereotypes really exist?", not being as harsh and overplayed as it is in the media or through gossip, yes it truly can. The skinny dancer, the mean teacher, the catty colleagues and the non-dancer's assumptions about your personality, it can all be something that happens to us. Life has many stereotypes and they aren't made up from nothing. These stereotypes spark from something. Society just chooses to make it a bigger deal and it grows into stereotypes. Dancers should never let this get in the way and, dancers who do have more of an optimistic and positive outlook, these stereotypes are only little hurdles in their dance career. We're all one big happy family at the end of the day.
"What studio do you go to?"
Many dancers that attend studios are referred to as "studio snobs" or so we've heard. I surveyed dancers from different studios and 10/12 dancers admit to snobby girls, mean teachers, crazy mothers, juicy drama and over competitive behavior between dancers. 2/12 dancers say it's all about the dancing and that their studio experience is drama-free. Yes, there may be lingering drama and many things on the same lines as these, but media over-portrays dance studios and dance teachers to be evil, overly strict. In all honesty yes, no studio will be drama free it's the nature of people! But it isn't what reality television makes it to seem. Non-dancers come to think that the roles in the hit TV show "Dance Moms" are a true role in any dance studio. Click on the crazy clips from the reality show and see this out of proportion view on the dance world!
Crazy, isn't it?!
So among all of these stereotypes there are a lot of catty personalities that people speak of. To be honest, dancers are always on each other's sides. At the end of the day it's a giant love circle. People become afraid to be confident in themselves because they feel like people are judging their every move. I talked to girls at my dance studio and asked them the following,

"Why do you think these stereotypes (that end up being reality in some cases) affect the way a dancer channels confidence in their dancing?"

"With that type of reputation or stereotype already pinned onto our backs it makes it harder for dancers to be confident and not let that myth interfere with the reality. Dancers are so hard on themselves that this stereotype just makes them even more insecure when little bits of the stereotype come to life." - Jessica Young (Dancer @ Soul to Sole Dance Company)

I find this topic so wide and all the mini topics that come into play when bringing up just some dancing stereotype into the dance world. We finally come to realize that so many things makes dancers less confident in themselves when they are immensely talented! All these little bits and stories that start out as complete nightmares come to life in some of their eyes.
More Media Influence
- My References -
"Oooh! Where did you get that bodysuit?!"
Ballet stereotypes. (2009, 09 12). Retrieved from http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20071209202415AAvcHUG
No one likes a bully [Television series episode]. (2012). In Collins, J. (Executive Producer), Dance Moms. Lifetime.
Schumann, R. (2013, July 24). Is dance moms fake?. International Business Times, Retrieved from http://www.ibtimes.com/dance-moms-fake-mom-kelly-hyland-calls-abby-lee-dance-company-show-scripted-lie-video-1358951
Doskocil , M. (n.d.). 15 truths about being a professional dancer. Retrieved from http://www.theportlandballet.org/BalletBlog/?p=556
PureHough, D. (Photographer). (2013, November 06). Shawn Johnson [Print Photo]. Retrieved from http://www.purederekhough.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/shawn-johnson-derek-hough-jive-10.jpg
Used York, C. (Photographer). (2013, June 20). Forever Tango [Photo]. Retrieved from http://www.usedyorkcity.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/FT3.jpg
About Face, W. (Photographer). (2011, December 29). Radio City Rockettes [Print Photo]. Retrieved from http://www.about-face.org/can-the-radio-city-rockettes-be-revolutionary/
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