It’s that wonderful and exciting time of the year again! Many of us are getting ready to go back to dance and get back into the swing of things as we start a new year. Whether it be at a competition studio, college or high school, it’s an exciting time filled with possibilities. Growing up, I started my dance training mainly focused on ballet. This was extremely beneficial to me, as it gave me a strong foundation for my dancing. When I was about 13, I started trying more classes and fell in love with lyrical, jazz, musical theater, contemporary and modern. Although ballet stayed a high priority for me, my focus shifted towards contemporary (it is now my favorite style of dance). I learned so much as a competition dancer, and my performing abilities greatly improved over those six years on teams. My studio did a wonderful job preparing me for a professional career once I graduated, as I was able to book my first job only a few months out of high school. However, I never realized how other styles that are so different from contemporary and ballet, could be so beneficial.
For most jobs, especially cruise ship jobs, relatively every style of dance is required. Beyond just dance styles and genres, most dancers also are asked to sing and act in each of the shows. As a dancer who had zero singing and acting experience, I thought that my chances of getting this job on Viking Ocean Cruises were quite small. I was under the impression that to be in a show that requires singing, I had to be at the same level as the main vocalists. That is not the case thankfully. A lot of dancer-singers actually only have to be able to blend their voices well enough with the lead vocals. However, I think it is extremely helpful and useful for dancers to broaden their training beyond just dancing. Acting classes and vocal lessons can prove to be very beneficial to add to a dancer’s resume and repertoire. I was lucky enough to be hired despite my lack of both acting and singing experience. I have gained a lot of “on the job” knowledge as I went.
The majority of my Main Stage shows are singing and acting based, aside from my one dance heavy show, Song and Dance. I play a wide variety of roles in these shows, ranging from a spy’s right hand girl to a shy girl who falls in love with a famous dancer. Although a large majority of my dance training is ballet and contemporary based, I mostly perform dances and routines from relatively every type of ballroom style. I pretty much do every style on board from the Waltz, Tango, Cha Cha, Swing, Paso Doble, and everything in between. I also get to perform some pieces from my comfort zone. In our spy themed show, I perform a ballet pas de deux, in addition to a Tango, Waltz and Samba. I really was challenged in rehearsals, when I had to learn so much material, as well as the new and different dance styles. I recommend to every dancer, regardless of what he/she wants to do with dance, to take as many styles of dance classes as possible. Also, try some acting and singing lessons. As this new season of dance starts back up, consider adding a new and exciting class to your dance schedule. You never know where it might take you!