A day in the life of a college dancer

May 2020 Issue

I thought this would be a perfect time to post this particular blog to bring back a sense of normality. Writing about something more personal allows me to remember what I am working towards and that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I feel it will also be helpful to those of you who are waiting to start their college journeys and those who are deciding whether this path is for them. 

Dancer’s college days are said to be the best days of their lives; and I for one agree. Being given the opportunity to dance and be trained everyday with other passionate performers by the highest quality faculty is honestly a dream come true. To this day for me it still feels surreal, but it is no walk in the park. Each day is packed with an intense timetable of classes to push your limits, stretch your knowledge and expose you to new ways of learning regardless of where you train. Each day is a new journey and a new chance to gain corrections to get you closer to those goals and prepared for life after study. Deciding to go to a college to train in the arts is a big decision and a commitment you must be sure that you want to make. Therefore, having knowledge about what you are committing to can be helpful when considering your options for either post 16 or post 18. So, what does a typical day look like?

A performers voice is just as important as their body and physique therefore, a series of vocal exercises to warm up the voice, develop breathing technique and improve both vocal strength and range are performed after an intense physical warm up. This physical session allows performers to build up the endurance, strength and stamina required for after training when auditioning and, if successful, enduring long rehearsal processes and show days. These warm ups take place every morning to prepare students for the day, preventing injury, as well as develop skills and attributes that are crucial to be successful within the industry. With this, focus and determination are key. It is a case of ‘mind over matter’, which is what I have always been told and, in my case, it has helped me. Remembering this has aided me when getting into the correct mindset ready for each new challenge of pushing my body, getting me through any doubts I may have and proving to myself that I am capable, the only barriers are my own thoughts.

Technique, choreography and theory classes follow on from this. These allow you to develop both as a performer and a person, building your dance ability as well as your confidence and knowledge. In the technique classes you learn about different genres in more depth, your own strengths and areas of improvement. They are crucial in preparing you for life after college and ensuring you are at your best when you emerge into the industry. Choreography classes not only teach you how to create works, and contribute to your qualifications, but also about yourself. Through having the opportunity to take classes like this, it has allowed me to learn more about my own personal style and made me discover my new found love for choreographing and creating my own works. Though it may not seem it at first, theory classes are just as important as your physical curriculum. These sessions help you work towards the qualifications you will receive at the end of your course which will aid you into getting into further education and gaining more opportunities in later life. 

After the timetable is complete for the day and there are no additional classes or rehearsals personally, I often like to use the free studios to work on any tips, corrections or areas to focus on that I have been given throughout the day. Additionally, I like to utilise this time to wind down after the intense day either by stretching or improvising to the first song that plays from my playlist. I find that by losing myself in the music and experimenting with movement that feels natural allows me to relax, reflect on the day and inspires new ideas and concepts for projects and upcoming sessions in the studio, all without the pressure of being watched. This can often mean that I spend around 7-8 hours in the studio a day, and this can be both physically and mentally draining so ensure you take time for yourself to focus on self care, looking after your needs ready for the days and week ahead. 

I am incredibly thankful that I have the opportunity to train daily doing what I love and working towards the path I want to take. For any career choice, hard work and dedication is crucial to get you where you want to be.

I hope this blog was helpful, insightful and encourages more people to follow their dreams and take a chance.

Stay safe, train hard and reach out to those close to you.

Costello

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