How to Join a Dance Troupe

Where’s you dance wall?

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The foundation of my house is mainly a pile of rocks. Because of the spaces between the rocks, it’s rather porous. I have suffered floods in the spring and heat loss in the winter, because those spaces let heat out just as easily as they let water in. On top of this, animals sometimes burrow into the ground near the foundation so they can have a cozy warm place to winter. They are very strategic to find this nice nesting place!

Most things that seem impermeable are surprisingly porous. There are spaces through which we can enter–but we, too, want to be strategic about it. We do our homework and get to know the lay of the land. This way, we can find space for ourselves.

Consider D. She has been dancing regularly for about a year, and she wants to join a troupe. She is older than most of the people in her class and wonders if that will be a problem.

She said, “I am at point A, right? I would love to join a troupe to perform at fairs, shows, outdoor venues, etc. I’m not interested in earning my living this way. But it’s something I’m passionate about. How do I get to Point B?” I have heard from other folks who want to join a troupe, or join a specific troupe, or get into a venue, or a host of other A to B scenarios. The principles are the same for any of these endeavors.

Decide on what you want. Vet the people in advance. Learn from the leader

Decide on what you want

  • Make a list of the qualities you want in a troupe (or venue, or whatever). Just brainstorm and write it all down. Set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes to give limits.
  • After your brainstorm, refine your list to reflect what you want. Only write what you WANT. “No cattiness” is NOT what you WANT–it’s what you DON’T want. Instead, revise that to what you DO want, maybe “Fun, thoughtful people.”
    Does this make sense? It’s very important.
  • Start looking at troupes and meeting people. See how well they embody your list. To give yourself the courage to go chat up strangers, think of it as an anthropological experiment. Part of what you want to know is if they are welcoming. What better way to find out?

Vet the people in advance

  • Every troupe is different, and they all have very different dynamics. Some are welcoming. Some are snotty. Some dance well. Some don’t. And there is every possible shade of these colors all along the spectrum.
  • You want folks who feel good to be around. Checking out the vibe from the different groups gives you the a sense of what it would be like to interact with them on a regular basis.

Learn from the leader

  • Of course, you want to be up to the level of the troupe in order to get in. So taking the classes and observing the troupe will help you know how to focus your efforts.
  • Once you know whom you like, you can put some extra effort into taking the leader’s classes or workshops. If that is too difficult or far away, you might schedule some private lessons with her. Start small. Let the relationship develop. You can also practice with videos of their/her performances.
  • Again, you get to vet her and see if you like her up close and personal, but there is more.
  • You learn her style, and you begin to develop a relationship with her. If you do take classes or workshops, you might also meet and hang out with the troupe folks, and get to know them, too.

What if there is no amenable troupe around you? Finding one you like, even if it too far away to join, gives you a model and something to look for. New troupes form all the time–it is possible yours hasn’t started yet. Maybe you will even start one yourself! But it helps to know what you want.

Will this work for everything? No. But it works for a lot of things. If it doesn’t work, the odds are good there is a better situation for you somewhere else. Keep looking, keep refining what you want, and keep developing yourself as a kind, compassionate, accomplished human being. Bring your best self to the best table.

So far so good? 
Figure out what you want. Look for it. Meet people. Get involved.

Re the disjunction between ages of you and the other gals: The right people will not care about that. Maybe that will be one of the things on your list, that the group is of mixed ages, body types, etc.

I hope this helps!

Love,
Alia

 

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