What's Wrong With The Dance Industry

9 Comments

What's Wrong With The Dance Industry

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.

 

9 Comments

Being Current.

8 Comments

Being Current.

Everyone is trying to be current, but is it just me or is everything starting to look the same? I feel like there is such an over saturation within the dance community and a lack of creativity at the same time. People are afraid to stand out because they're trying to do what is current. Why be current when you can be new? 

There are some brilliant people in the industry right now. Tricia Miranda for example has a brilliant mind for creating choreography that everyone goes crazy over and it just wows people in a way I haven't seen in a very long time and Tim Milgram has found an amazing way to capture it that is both eye-catching and dynamic. Tessandra Chavez is pushing the limits of contemporary choreography and has created masterpieces that I have been inspired by since I started dancing. There are trend setters like Yanis, Ian, and Miguel, not to mention the legends that are out there who continue to have a HUGE impact on the dance community and industry like Brian Friedman and my mentors, Tabitha and Napoleon. There are countless others who are not afraid to be themselves and do something that hasn't been done before, but creativity takes effort. Yes, creativity comes naturally to some but it takes effort from all.

Whenever I teach class, I will always tell my students that the advice I give may not be directed toward them, but to take as if it were. Make sure your creativity is a point of view that is your own, not just someone else's view duplicated or worse, watered down. Try new concepts, lighting, camera equipment, or even just expanding your vocabulary of movement. Whatever you do, don't be afraid of failing. Failing is good. It may not feel like it at the time, but the brilliant philosopher Ellen Degeneres once said, "when you take risks, you learn that there will be times when you succeed and there will be times when you fail, and both are equally important." We all know that anything Ellen Degeneres says is pretty much gold so take that at face value. We can all take a critical eye to our own work, myself included.

Don't be lazy; be creative. Don't be a copycat; be inspired. Don't be current; be new.

8 Comments

This Is Not Inspiration.

4 Comments

This Is Not Inspiration.

I wish teachers/choreographers these days would think about who they are trying to inspire. Grinding on the floor, cool outfits and hot tracks will earn you immediate gratification always. That's never going to change. You will get what you want: To delight in people talking about how great you are, and people saying they are inspired by you. But is that really inspiration?

It's not always the people around you or even the people your age who need inspiration and I urge you to think about this. Of course everyone talks about the kids being the future. Inspire them. Give them an imagination and tools to become successful. Teach them how to create and be confident when they do so. Show them what's really important and give them a part of yourself that is worth looking up to. This should be very obvious.  

But the people I urge you to aim to inspire are those who are a little older. The people who have forgotten the magic in the world and who have been stripped of their creativity by the everyday 9 to 5. They are the parents of the new generation. The ones that will raise their kids to think the only way to succeed in this world is to get a job and make money. PLEASE inspire these people. Show them that creativity and dance isn't just "cool". It is something that simply makes people better human beings. Show them that you can be successful and retain your integrity. Show them dance is about more than sexy clothes and good lighting. Show them that dance is more than dance moves: It's a life worth living. Inspire them so when their own child says, "Mom, I want to be an artist when I grow up," or "Dad, I don't want to go to college because I want to pursue dancing," thoughts of failure aren't the first thing that come screaming into their heads. Give this new generation of adults who will raise the next generation of dancers, choreographers and artists a reason to trust their own children again.

When you aim to inspire, really think about what it means to do so. It's a heavy responsibility, but it doesn't have to be a difficult one. Keep reaching to be better.

Love, Kyle
 

4 Comments

The Destination.

1 Comment

The Destination.

"It's about the journey, not the destination." That's something I've always been told but being a choreographer has put this in an entirely new perspective. These past few months I've hired many dancers, choreographed them and sent them on their way to experience tour together. They get to develop bonds and friendships that last a lifetime; they travel all over until they have their last show at the final destination (insert movie pun here). As a choreographer, I don't get to experience this. But that's why the journey is so important, because that is all I have as a choreographer. I don't get to experience tour, or travel with my friends. What I have is the process, the rehearsals, the hard work and sweat that goes into creating. Sometimes you have to appreciate the journey because it's all you have, but for those of you who get to experience the destination, ENJOY it enough for the both of us.

1 Comment