Updated: May 16
If you have ever seen a performance on stage, at a recital, or in concert you may have thought to yourself “wow that’s so easy, I can definitely do that!”. With that I’d like to ask you to re-think this narrative. Time and time again professional dancers, choreographers and teachers have all been informed of the same understanding that dance is “easy”. While looking at showcases, it can be easily interpreted that the dance being performed is easy, but I would like to clarify that it is just that, a performance—made to look effortless. It is the job of dancers to effortlessly perform a routine without any mistakes for the purpose of entertainment or otherwise stated. Still, it’s greatly understood that anyone can dance, and that dance is easy, however, dance is far from easy. Here are 5 reasons why dance is simply not “easy”.
1. Have to be able to understand music and time signatures
When looking at a dance routine or performance, before choreographers or dancers even begin by moving, they have to interpret the music. This means breaking down each section of the song by listening to the timing and different layers (also known as the melody, intervals, and phrases). Many choreographers and dancers are able to interpret these layers and add them accordingly to a dance. In addition to this, choreographers and dancers interpret lyrics/ the meaning of a song, as well as the overall vibe of the piece of music to display a form of connection with the art itself. Sometimes songs have deeper lyrics, but an upbeat tempo and vice versa, therefore they need to adjust their bodies and movements accordingly.
2. Memorizing choreography is harder than it looks
When looking at a routine that is executed to perfection, one might automatically think it’s easy to replicate, however this can be far from reality. Each move and section fits accordingly to the music and it took time to perfect. In reality, your favourite singers, dancers, choreographers and artists probably spent hours in the studio perfecting each move to make it look effortless on stage or in front of the camera. For every dance that is performed there are countless hours being put into it to memorize and perform up to par.
3. Creating dances/routines are just as hard
On the flip side, creating the routine can be just as hard. Many choreographers have a specific vision they want to interpret with their movement, but sometimes it just doesn’t execute the way they want to. Just like writing a song, a book, or even an essay, creating something takes time. There are a lot of rough drafts, scrapped ideas and sometimes unfinished projects. Needless to say, creating a dance has a lot of ups and downs. Like the above mention, when in the studio trying to create and bring something to life, it requires countless hours of dedication and hard work. Many dancers and Choreographers spend hours in and outside the studio trying to create something for others to enjoy.
4. Believe it or not, dance is a sport.
A countless debate that has been going back and forth for what can feel like forever, I would like to point out, if you ask any dancer, teacher, or choreographer if dance is a sport I guarantee you they will probably say yes. To the eyes of a non-dancer, you may think people are just having fun and moving to a piece of music. However, what you may not know is the amount of leg and core strength one needs to do a specific move. Just like football players, basket-ball players, or even golf players, dancers are athletes, we need to keep our bodies healthy and in best shape so we don’t hurt ourselves on stage or in practice. Not only do we have to keep fit, but we also need to keep our technique in check, ballet dancers stretch and warm up their bodies daily while hip hop and b-boy dancers practice their technique so it improves over time and they don’t hurt themselves. Dance requires a lot of diligence, and trust me when I say, dancers are determined.
5. The pressure of “making it”
Many dancers and choreographers know the difficulties of having to explain their line of work to non-dancers. often times it’s met with “why?”, “that’s not a real profession, is it?”, “okay but what do you really to?”, and “wow that’s so cool! I could never do that though!” The pressure of having to explain what you do and how you are able to survive is quite frankly annoying. Although dance is not a “stable” line of work for most, it is doable. Without dancers, dance teachers, and choreographers, you will not see your child, niece or nephew dance in a yearly recital, or see you favourite artist pour their heart out on stage when seeing them live in concert or even follow your own dreams of starting your dance journey. Next time when someone tells you they are a dancer, or a choreographer why don’t you ask them if you can see their work? Help promote them to colleagues or friends, support them. At the end of the day we are all just doing what we love and want to bring art into the world for others to enjoy.
Dance is many things, it’s therapy, an escape, an act of celebration and art. Although made to look easy and to entertain viewers, dancers endure a lot behind the scenes to achieve many things. Let’s all celebrate dance and enjoy the beauty that it has to offer. With all this being said, dance is accessible to everyone. This blog was not made to discourage anyone from following their passion or new found love of dance, but to allow those to understand some of the hardships dancers and choreographers go through. If you stuck all the way to the end of this blog and are interested in starting your dance journey be sure to do so with STUArts dance here where we believe that Everybody Can Dance.