Dancing is fun, a stress reliever, and a good workout. Everyone can relate to that. But what many don’t see is what goes on behind the scenes – the struggles that most dancers have to go through on a daily basis. What exactly are the struggles? Let’s find out!
1. Finding a location to dance
Most common areas: Republic Polytechnic, *Scape, SMU, Youth Park and Esplanade MRT underpass. For those who have dance studios to fall back on for practices, you can’t relate to this! Think of near-impossible-to see reflections of ourselves from random reflective surfaces we found to the annoying humidity blessed with occasional passing winds… It gets harder when competition looms, we mean: Who wants their competitors to preview their item before the day itself? *spoil market* All stressful location finding aside, here are some dance studios offering rentals at affordable prices for those unwilling to suffer: Actfa, Stepping Out, Aquilia Dance Academy, and 1Fiesta.
2. Maintaining relationships
We are talking relationships with parents, friends, and our baes. Dance is a commitment and also time consuming. Think of the many months trying to perfect a 1-minute piece just to impress the judges *looking at you, Super24*. During these months, we tend to miss out on many milestones outside of dance – birthdays, anniversaries… you name it, we’re guilty of it. Standard answers include: “Sorry. I can’t make it cause I have dance.”
“Sorry I really need to rest…”
“Sorry I have to rush that assignment I’ve been avoiding coz dance.”
So before things (could) go awry, make it up to the people who matter by catching up with them over lunch or dinner or exclusive treats after the competitions/performances.
3. Staying awake in class/at our part-time jobs
Practises always start in the evening because we have to accommodate to those working part time jobs (ew, work) and those who have classes (argh, exams). When they say practice ends at 10pm, you know it never really does… *cough* 11pm *cough*. Our routine when we get home includes eating anything found in the fridge, taking a shower, finishing up on school work (if any), and KO. The cycle repeats until competition day. We go into class and work feeling all zombified. Don’t forget that we look like we had a wardrobe malfunction that morning!
Dance is an expensive hobby. With every dance competition or recital, you need to get costume. Basic: top, bottom, makeup and shoes. Extras: accessories for your outfit to make it VAVAVOOM . All of these could amount to $100 or more. (100 X 6 items = GOODBYE MOOLAHS). Besides costume, you might also want to go for classes on a weekly basis but don’t have the budget to do so because you’re still a student. Can $20 just fall from the sky? *sobs* We know some of you starve for the sake of attending them… Please don’t do that (anymore) for the sake of your health.
5. Traditional Asian Disapproval
Not all Asian parents are supportive of their children venturing into dance. Some parents can be quite conservative. They think of dance as a bad influence and a waste of time. Don’t forget injuring! And just like most Singaporean parents, they think that you won’t make it far in dance especially on this tiny island. (DAD, MOM, WE CAN!) Not many listen to their parents though. Some of them dance behind their parents’ back and got away with it. We have someone who’s really passionate about dance and managed to prove his Asian parents otherwise.
6. When you listen to your jam
Bobbing heads. Finger tapping. Feet tapping. We are all guilty of grooving in public. Of course it’s done subtly or else you’ll get stares from surrounding you, but that ends up looking like we are twitching oddly and it still garners attention. *SIGHS* But then… Y’know you gotta do what you gotta do when the music is on honey. *busts out sick moves*
7. TOO damn FAST
If you took a long break from dance, you’ll realise that your brain might be a little rusty to absorb steps quickly and your movements look somewhat awkward. You struggle to catch up in class while everyone seems to be doing just fine.
Embarrassment looms when you have to ask the choreographer to repeat the steps. When they start splitting into groups, you know you’re in deep trouble if you haven’t gotten the steps yet. Tip: Stand behind someone so you can follow them. Or just wing it!
8. Same song, same routine
Y’know what we’re talking bout’ right here! This is most fun when we’re with our dancemates who underwent the same class/dance competition/recital. We all have experienced those post-withdrawal symptoms. Everyone gets in formation and does the entire routine once more. Some of us have an insanely good memory that they could still perform the routine perfectly from, like, seven years ago. If only we could do the same when it comes to memorising for exams!
9. Getting stares from public because of heavy makeup
Most dancers would just go off with their caked-to-imperfection face to dinner after their performance. Unless your makeup looks hideous (sweat + makeup is NOT a good combo), then you might want to consider removing it immediately. Thick foundation, dark eyebrows, winged liner, dark eye shadow, blusher, bronzer, etc. All of which are slapped a thousand times more on the face so that your face is visible for the audience seated at the end of the auditorium. Basically, you can’t recognise yourself anymore.
Not forgetting the crazy hairdo where it gets pushed all the way to the back, puffed up, and sprayed to high heavens. Who cares? I know I killed the stage.
10. Important presentations and dance don’t gel
Baggy shirt and tights/sweatpants (cue: we couldn’t care less) all day errday! Our most favourite outfit to don throughout the day especially when there is dance practice in the evening. But when we have an important presentation on the same day, this means extra clothes – one for presentation, another for dance.
That’s a 360° change in outfit from head to toe. Did we also mention the (unnecessary) heavy bags and disgusting sweat marks?
Did you face any of these struggles? Comment below and let us know what other struggles you face/faced as a student dancer!