To be become a dancer, one must be decisive and ready to commit to a disciplined way of life. Diet, daily rehearsal and creative energy are required to maintain a standard of excellence and exponential growth as an artist. Whatever your desired dance form, from ballet to hip hop, you'll need to examine your resources for time, money and commitment to your new art. Here's how to be the best dancer you can be.
One of the toughest arenas for a dancer to master is diet. There must be a balance of eating enough food for optimal energy, yet portion control for leanness. Each individual will require a unique dietary program for their body type, ranging from high protein diets to vegetarian plans. Eating is very important for muscles to grow and perform under pressure, so be sure to eat regularly with sufficient protein. Dancers who refuse to eat are the ones who suffer sudden heart attacks in their prime. Always remember that food is your friend and the kitchen is your fueling station. You don't have to like what you eat, but you must be disciplined to do so.
Practice hours will be many and must be reserved for when the body can be pushed to peak performance. Taking a dance class that begins at 7pm might be convenient with a daytime work schedule, but can wreak havoc on a body that is too tired to perform. It's also dangerous when jumping and spinning elements are added that require a sense of "air space." To commit to a full-time dance schedule, you may need to re-arrange your day job, giving your peak energy hours to dance. Set a training structure that you can stick to, both financially and physically. And special attention to days off will require a balance of rest, without too much slack. The body must have time to repair itself, especially in the feet, and your body will let you know what it needs. Three days on, one day off is a good rule to follow to maintain technique and get adequate rest. But, too much time off can diminish a finely-tuned muscle and slow down progression. The old saying is a true one: "one day off and the dancer knows it; two days off and the coach knows it; three days off and the audience knows it."
Whatever your dream is for dance, let no one discourage you. Age is not as relevant as tenacity and natural talent not as necessary as discipline. Most people will never posses the fortitude to press forward with a dance career, so the new dancer will get little support from others. Whether you intend to perform, teach or write about dance, your niche is a special place only you can create. Dance can be a life long experience and limited only by your own vision, motivation, physical conditioning and artistry. Let no man set your boundaries. If you can freely express emotion through movement, you belong on that stage and the world will benefit from your contribution.