Top Advice on Managing Inter-Personal Relationships for Dancers

by Danielle Hernandez on January 28, 2019

Everyone loves dancing, and dancers exude and spread a lot of warmth, cheer, and happiness that they get from their art. But what's the story backstage? What are the real faces behind the makeup and the pleasant demeanor? Are dancers working in tandem with each other even when no one is watching? How are their interpersonal relationships?

It is important for dancers to form and keep nurturing positive relationships with the dance community that shares their love for dance.

How to Nurture Positive Relationships within the Dance Community

Directors and Dancers

The love-hate relationship between dancers and the directors is interesting as well as legendary, but specific ground rules can make the equation work for both parties. Here is what you should keep in mind as a dancer.

  • Respect your leader- Hold your tongue and disparagement, because they are working as hard as you are. You may not be able to notice their hard work because all that is in the background to help you shine through.
  • Seek them out for advice- Your directors can counsel you about your dance career, give notes to you about improving your dance and even help you with your rehearsal schedules while you are stretching to the limits from school to dance. Don't be afraid! Their role as a leader is to guide you, after all. Seeking advice also helps you connect better with them.
  • Don’t brush issues under the carpet- Don’t carry grudges; express your discontent to the director rather than gossiping and complaining to others about it. Transparency and honesty are the central aspects of treating someone with genuine respect.
  • Appreciate and express gratitude- They are the most hard-working and vulnerable people in your dance team, yet, they don’t get appreciated well. Of course, it’s their job, but this assumption doesn’t deny the fact that they are humans too. Don’t practice sycophancy, but a simple thank you and a word of well-deserved appreciation are enough to make it worth their while.

How to Maintain Positive Relationships with other Dancers

As part of the dance team, whether you are a lead dancer or second or third-row dancer, everyone has worked really hard to be there. It’s just a matter of varied skill levels and physical and mental capacities that separates good dancers from great. There are only a few spots at the top which is already slippery, and one misstep or lack of practice could bring the leaders down.

It is normal, in fact, human to feel resentment for dancers who could go en-Pointe within a few sessions or execute a step to perfection in just a few tries. A dancer has to learn to take it all in her stride and keep her focus on dance which is what she is there for in the first place.

Be a Support System for Each Other

Be a support system

Go beyond doing the same choreography next to your teammate. You can be a friend too! By cheering others, sharing their videos, giving compliments, you can be a better person, and motivate others also! After all, dancing is all about having their backs, giving selflessly and receiving gratefully.

Do Some Off-Dance Activities Together

Do some off-dance activities

Sure, you have matching hoodies of your dance team. And your steps are in sync too. Explore if you have something else in common. Do you both like to read? How about hiking or camping? Do you study common subjects? Try hanging out together and forge a more meaningful friendship that extends beyond the studio.

Be Constructive When it Comes to Criticism

Be constructive

You are close enough with your fellow dancers to keep an eye on what’s wrong. You probably know them best as a dancer and understand their limitations too. If your notes can help them grow, don’t hesitate to share. Most certainly, they will use your tips and appreciate it. However, don’t mock them or be nasty with your feedback.

Be Proud of What you Share

Be proud of

You know how hard you have worked, and your fellow teammates have been a part of that journey. As you admire how far you have come together, remember to share with your teammates. Celebrate achievements together, be in touch with them, encourage new members to embrace all as part of a family.

Your checklist for being the best dancer and a human being that you can be.

  1. Greet everyone. Say hi/bye to each teammate when you enter/leave practice.
  2. Create fun practices. Welcome newbies to the team with some ritual. Like the presentation of team hoodie.
  3. Check on others. If you see someone missing a couple of classes in a row, call up and ask if everything is ok with them. Offer help, if you could.
  4. Be generous with your compliments- When someone does an outstanding job, make sure you compliment them.
  5. There is no “I” in the word -“TEAM” Nothing is more important than teamwork when an individual mistake could derail the success of an entire squad.
  6. Be ready to play any role in the team. Your dance team is going to be benefitted immensely by this attitude!
  7. Be positive, always. It is going to affect others to be positive too. Your enthusiasm and infectious energy will help bring out the best in everybody.
  8. Ban negative talk- Stop talking negatively about your body and indeed no body-shaming!
  9. Set goals- Together! Aim to perfect your pirouette, or do the stretches together. Setting goals will help you get closer to each other, and camaraderie will reflect in your performances.
  10. Practice the power of silence. Never indulge in gossips, don’t fan rumors and make sure you never broke the sister code.

Everyone loves dancing, and they love dancing with each other even more. But each one of us has our comfort zones and boundaries when it comes to our social and communication skills. So why not try our best to be mindful of each others’ feelings? We can not only make our connections more meaningful, but we also make dance community stronger.

The chemistry of an interconnected dance team that only goes from strength to strength as a unit is sure to be a rewarding dance experience for everyone. Teamwork makes the dream work, but not without a lot of sweat, blood, tears, respect, trust, understanding and love.

Most of the traits that you will develop in your life as a dancer will help you in becoming an excellent team player in your journey to becoming a great teammate will impact your "future-self" tremendously.

What else do you think is essential to keep in mind as a dancer? Leave a comment below to share!


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