There is a problem in the LA dance industry. I like to call it Neverland Syndrome. I look at people with 9-5 jobs and compare their lifestyle and maturity level with that of the dance industry. I can say I love what I do but damn, there is something seriously wrong with our community.
For a second, imagine there is a barrel. This barrel is filled with grapes. A normal barrel is corked off and the grapes mature to create a nice, well-balanced cabernet sauvignon. Now let's take a look at this other barrel next to it: There is a spigot on this barrel that pours out the wine from the bottom and there is a open lid at the top that keeps pouring in new grapes. The result: Welch's Grape Juice.
As people grow up, their surroundings usually grow up with them, moving in a collective forward motion toward maturity. However, this is not the case with the dance industry. As people grow up, they often leave the dance industry. At the same time, new dancers constantly enter the industry and there is a large lack of maturity with some of these dancers. [NOTE: There is nothing wrong with lacking maturity when you are young. I was super immature when I was a teenager but the problem isn't in the individuals; the problem is in the community.] This keeps the dance community in a constant state of not growing up, hence the name, Neverland Syndrome. Many of these dancers just don't know what they're doing, and because they aren't sure how to approach situations, they can often make bad choices, such as teaching someone else's choreography, or undercutting someone else's rate for a job, or even talking smack about other people to make up for their own insecurities.
So how do we fix this? I think it's about setting a good example for the new dancers. It's about giving them guidance and helping them mature into people of integrity. I applaud the choreographers and teachers that I see taking new and younger dancers under their wing. I think we need more of that. If you have any questions about the community or need guidance, feel free to write me on Facebook or even in the comments and I'll do my best to lead you in the right direction. Don't be afraid to ask people that you look up to as well. Everyone has their own journey and their own stories of success and failure. If dance mimics life, then there are life lessons to be learned alongside it so grab a glass of nice, well-balanced wine and let's chat. Unless you're underage... then no wine for you.