Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ideal Dancer's Body: the "Look"

Every dancer wants that "Look." You know, the one that's universally fitting to commercials, concert dance, companies, teaching, Broadway, you name it. The dancer that is beautiful, timeless, elegant (but can look grungy or punk or cute or sexy or whatever else) not too skinny or chubby, just tall enough to qualify as a Rockette but not so tall as to tower over male partners. There are any number of qualities that the "Look" has that everyone wants.

Not everyone is timelessly beautiful and perfect for every role though. In fact, most people are typecast by whatever their face, skin color, height, weight, mannerisms, etc give off as a first impression. I was always known as "lyrical girl" in elementary/middle school.

But there are things you can do to get a little closer to that "Look" that includes changing a few things about yourself in daily life. After all, your physical appearance is the first impression anyone has of you, besides a paper resume and picture. The first thing is you need to always think of yourself as a dancer first. Make choices, whether short or long-term, depending on whether you'll be able to dance if the worst happens.
  1. choose close-toed shoes whenever you can. Crushed toes and toenails are no fun.
  2. keep your nails a reasonable length
  3. be careful of dangerous accessorizing when going out (high heels that might rub blisters/twist an ankle, large earrings that might pull through your earlobes, cheap metal or perfume that might cause a rash)
  4. be careful of dying your hair. Choose natural-esque colors and highlights, or make sure that your school, studio, company, or places/people you're interested in working for are okay with dye jobs and styles.
  5. on the subject of hair, also look at people/places you want to work in and check out hairstyles. Is super short hair okay, or should you keep your hair a bit longer?
  6. piercings. Earring piercings (just one set on the earlobes) are probably desirable for dancers, actually. Earrings are fairly common costume pieces. However, be careful of multiple piercings (cartilage, nose, lip, tongue, bellybutton) on the face or body, and definitely don't wear them to auditions (unless you research beforehand).
  7. tattoos. Choose a smart one and a good location if you get one at all - something small, not super noticeable, easily cover-able with makeup or clothing. I can imagine it would be a deal breaker for some jobs, so beware!
  8. food. Your weight is important to you as a dancer, so make smart choices and take everything in moderation.
  9. activities. Is going golfing for 5 hours tomorrow the best idea when you have a performance in a few days? You could get sunburnt, strain a muscle or two, get hit by a club or ball. Plan ahead and be smart, you get the idea.
There's a ton more things that you could think about and plan carefully. When I first thought of all these things, it made me pretty angry. Why do I need to take special consideration? Why can't I just dye my hair on a whim or get a second piercing or tattoo if I want to, wherever I want to? It's because being a dancer isn't just a job - it's a lifestyle that you choose. And if you're going to choose it, you have to be smart.


  1. Wow! Loved your tips. They are helpful too. I feel a little over weight for my age, but realizing that hardly anyone can live up to the Look helps me think that I'm ok the way I am.

    1. Sure, improvements can always be made to every look and every body. The Look is impossible, so why not cherish who we are right now? If you think you're beautiful, you'll be beautiful just the way you are :)

  2. That is true. You never want to come into an audition unaware that you didn't get the job before you even started dancing because of how you look!!