Dancers use different body movements to interpret music, to convey meaning and to entertain audiences. Although dance disciplines vary significantly, there are specific qualities common to all successful dancers. As a successful dancer you'll need a strong sense of rhythm and innate physical grace. Health consciousness is imperative; you'll be expected to maintain good health and physical well-being. Because dancing is demanding, physical strength and endurance are vital qualities. Agility is another quality to develop. Dedication is critical-you must commit many hours to daily practice in order to master dance routines and improve your technique.
Good dancers have a profound sense of rhythm. You are expected to be aware of basic rhythmic patterns within dance routines; you also need to develop your own sense of timing. Dance author Andree Grau notes that when dancers are performing one dance move they are spontaneously anticipating the next movement. Grau says that dancers "subtly adjust the movements leading to the next step, in order to prepare the audience. Performers use rhythm to establish this kind of exchange with an audience.”
Body Type and Health Consciousness
A lean, muscular body is the ideal physical type for a dancer. You must be health conscious and self-disciplined to achieve and maintain this physique. Eat protein rich foods such as meat and nuts to build muscle mass. You should not smoke cigarettes; health author Sid Kirchheimer says nicotine "quickens the heart rate and constricts blood vessels, impairing normal blood flow, making your heart work harder and putting you at risk for heart disease."
Physical Strength and Endurance
Successful dancers are physically strong and flexible. Modern dance choreographer Martha Graham called dancers “athletes of God.” Dancers move in a deliberate, disciplined way; you need a strong core to achieve this. Many dancers take exercise classes such as aerobics, palates and yoga in addition to their regular dance regimen.
Dedication and Determination
You must have an unwavering sense of commitment in order to experience success as a dancer. According to the "Career Discovery Encyclopedia", dancers usually study some ballet or classical dance as a foundation, typically beginning training at about the age of 10. Years of practice lay ahead and you must be able to work well under the direction of dance teachers and choreographers. You need to be tolerant and able to withstand constructive criticism from your peers. Confidence and mental stamina, including the ability to remain focused on your chosen career are essential qualities that make a good dancer.
- "Career Discovery Encyclopedia"; Ferguson; 2003.
- "Eyewitness Books-Dance"; Andree Grau; 1998.
- "The Doctors Book of Home Remedies"; Sid Kirchheimer; 1993.
- "Our Bodies, Ourselves For The New Century"; The Boston Women's Health Book Collective; 1998.
Cicely Austin has been writing professionally since 2008, covering everything from art to crime. Her work has been featured on websites of the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution," Review Centre, NPR and U.K. Film Talk. Austin is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. She has a journalism diploma from the London School of Journalism. Additionally, she has an Associate of Science in communication and a Bachelor of Arts in communication.