You’re at a convention, and you’re in the middle of the packed ballroom floor. You feel good, you pick up the choreography quickly, and you nail the combo each time. But the teacher never even glances your way, and you don’t get called on to demonstrate or perform in a small group, let alone a “good job” or pat on the back.
Or maybe you’re at a summer intensive audition. You’ve dressed the part — black leotard, pink tights — and your technique is feeling #flawless. But you don’t land a spot in the program.
Why do some dancers get loads of attention while others get passed over time after time? Here are a few tips for finding your own personal style and learning to stand out in a crowd.
1. Hone your personal style.
Just because an audition says to wear a black leotard and pink tights doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun. Opt for a leotard that’s comfortable and flattering, but choose one that’s guaranteed to make you stand out, too. Find one that elongates your legs, or pick a leotard that shows off your best features. If you have a long neck, go for a leotard with a V-cut front. Play with long sleeves, short sleeves, low backs, and more. (The options truly are endless.)
Figure out what you’re most comfortable in — no matter your style — and stick to it. Pick a signature accessory — like standout sneakers or a cool choker — and own it. There’s nothing wrong with being known as “the girl with the giant hoop earrings” or “the jazz dancer with the buzz cut.”
2. Own the silence.
Learn how to stand out during times of silence. Some routines are so packed with tricks and turns that there’s no time for emotion. But when the choreography allows for it, learn how to stand strong and emote during the routine’s more quiet moments. Like Tyra Banks always said on “America’s Next Top Model,” learn to smize. (That’s smiling with your eyes.) Don’t always rely on your extensions, flexibility, and tumbling tricks in order to get attention. Learn to truly emote. Take an acting class to really hone your skills!
3. Work your butt off.
Those girls getting noticed in class? We bet they’re never doing the routine any way other than full-out. They’re showing up on time, they’re eager, they listen, they’re focused, and they perform. Great learners and eager dancers impress faculty members just as much as “the best girl in the room.”
4. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing.
Just because the girl next to you is wearing army pants and flip flops doesn’t mean you, too, need to wear army pants and flip flops. (Mean Girls, anyone?) Worry about yourself. Worry about what you’re doing and wearing, where you’re standing, and how you’re executing your choreography.
5. Confidence is key!
You might have the exact same skills as another dancer and an equally awesome look. But the true trick to standing out is — repeat after us — confidence! If you believe you’re amazing, your teachers, teammates, casting directors, and judges will believe it, too.
Go get ’em!