I'll be honest though: some of them are true. Sometimes. But that happens in any profession, right? Engineers are all thought of as geeks, but there are tons of really cool people who are sociable and friendly who also happen to be extraordinarily smart. In the same way, dancers are extraordinarily gifted with their bodies, but it takes just as much of a mind and soul to dance as it does to do anything else. Sometimes more.
Dance is a commitment. I hate to admit it, but if I did not absolutely have to dance, I'm not sure I would choose to. Dance is a hard profession to be in. No matter how many people "make it," there are ten (or a couple hundred...) others that don't. It's constant rejection, physical demand, artistic demand, emotionally taxing, and on top of all that, it doesn't pay. Choosing to dance was one of the hardest decisions of my life, but if I really think about it, it wasn't a decision. I knew I had to dance, I just had to come to terms with it and justify it to myself. In the end, I'm proud I listened to my instincts and am actually excited to live this life of performing and expression. But I'm getting off topic.
In order to dance, you have to be smart. You have to be in tune with your own body, with other people (whether that be a partner or people you're on stage with), with your environment. You have to be able to learn choreography and adapt it extremely quickly. You have to learn to manage your time and balance your life between dance, academics, socializing, and other activities and commitments. Beyond that, dancers have to be survivers. You have to stick it out through long, intense rehearsals and classes with relatively low pay (if you're being paid). I don't have to tell you all of this, as you probably know it.
I originally got the idea for this post when I saw this picture on Facebook, and I've gotta admit that it's pretty true, stereotypically speaking:
How do we change the stereotype that society has of dancers? So You Think You Can Dance has already started, a little, by introducing the idea that dancers are world-class athletes as well as true artists. The struggles and successes of dancers' lives are just now coming to light in the US. All we can do individually is show people that dancers are human and have multifaceted personalities.