[Thanks to Mayra for sharing her informational interview report on how to become a dancer and related career information.]
Ever since I was a young child, I loved to dance. However, I never got to put it into practice until I entered high school. I didn’t think it was going to be so challenging and I actually got intimidated by the number of amazing dancers there were in this world. Nevertheless, I pushed myself hard and involved myself into the world of dance and allowed myself to try new styles and evolved as a dancer. Upon graduating I was left with nothing because all the dance studios in my area were way to expensive to enroll in.
However, about six months ago my friend invited me to an audition for a dance group. I was terrified because I had stopped formally dancing for about a year and a half. I went anyways and pulled through with the auditions. Unfortunately, I didn’t make the team but luckily the director saw potential in my dancing skills and referred me to his brother so I could take workshop (training) classes with him.
I was so thrilled to know that his workshop classes were only twenty dollars a month, not to mention he was an amazing dancer! I was in for the ride and eventually got offered a spot on his dance team. We are very much alike in some aspects, especially how passionate we are about helping others and the love for dance, which is why I asked him if I could conduct an informational interview with him. After a tedious workshop class I approached him and told him I wanted to know a little bit more about the reason he got into dance and what he’s accomplished as a dancer, and he happily accepted.
I began by asking general questions about when he discovered dance and moved on to more technical questions related to the job such as recommendations and challenges he faces in the dance world. He discovered b-boy dancing when he was only 5 years old. This style of dancing is very common and is known to be a bit difficult and a technical style of dancing, and is also referred to as break dancing. He mentioned that he remained in that area of dancing for nine years and held open dance sessions in his garage.
Given that I’m a dancer, I was aware that being a dancer is a completely different thing than being a choreographer and asked him if he ever wanted to pursue that into greater detail. He said that he was actually discovered by a director of a dance company and from there on he held onto choreographing.
With that in mind, I asked if there was a motto he had for upcoming choreographers or for those looking to be involved in the dance career. He laughed and told me that I should already know this after taking his classes and said, “If you didn’t sweat, you didn’t work hard enough.”
He’s a firm believer in working hard in order to get what you are looking for. If you are constantly looking for shortcuts, you will never improve and become a better dancer. He said, “dancing is about taking chances and being able to diversify yourself.”
I then asked, “Would you say you have a specific style as far as choreographing?” He said, “Yes, it’s this thing I call Swantricate. Swan comes from everyone mispronouncing the end of my last name, and Intricate comes from the variety of styles I put into my dances. I incorporate my b-boy styles such as knee spins, foot work, weight shifting, etc.”
Another important question was what advice he would give to an inspiring/upcoming dancer. He said, “Take lots of classes, a variety of classes. Take it all in and learn it fast but most importantly love what you’re doing, have passion for it and enjoy it!”
Overall, he said that you should explore the area and be aware that the dance industry is tough and in order to make it big out there, you are going to have to work really hard and diversify yourself. Also, he couldn’t mention it enough to love what you’re doing, whether it’s becoming a big backup dancer or starting your own dance company because without that, it won’t work out mainly because it’s the passion that drives you to work harder and push forward.
Honestly, I was aware of a lot of the information that was given to me but his words and mottos really inspired me to work harder and believe in myself. However, he did mention that all my experience aside from hip hop, such as jazz, ballet, and modern would all help me when I’m dancing hip hop. I didn’t think too much of it at first but as I continued to dance the following weeks, I noticed that there were some technical jazz and ballet moves incorporated into his hip hop routine!
He definitely created a much more positive impression regarding this career because he makes me want to inspire more people to dance! Initially that was my goal upon taking dance as my minor but I was left in awe after talking to him and noticing how much of a change he made in my dancing life.
Over the 6 months of dancing with him, I have gained so much technique, passion, confidence, and respect for every style of dancing out there. He actually helped me see how tough the dance industry was, and enforced that redirection of where I wanted to go with my dancing career. All my life I had dreams of dancing for someone like Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera, but there is too much shady business out there and major competition. Instead, I want to share my love for dance with another passion of mine – kids. I want to inspire and teach a dance class for those who are extremely passionate about dance or for those who just want to see what it’s all about, all for an affordable price!