The 10 Best Pieces of Advice I've Ever Received

Melissa Hough in Bruce's "Rooster" (Amitava Sarkar)

1. “Leave your ego at the door.” Remembering that phrase reminds me to listen and keep an open mind in class and rehearsal, which makes every experience more interesting and positive.

2. “Push from the back leg.” When I do, my dancing looks lighter and I’m better able to eat up the stage.

3. “Change is natural and inevitable, so enjoy the moment for what it is.” This helps me appreciate the good things in my life—roles, partners, relationships.

4. “Sometimes you just have to get mad at it!” I’ve danced some extremely hard roles, and getting angry at them helps kick me into high gear onstage. I need to get mad to dance the role of Red in Jirˇí Kylián’s Forgotten Land and Myrtha in Giselle.

5. “Don’t expect it to happen—make it happen.” This advice is especially helpful when it comes to actively applying corrections in my everyday work.

6. “Working with your natural rotation will save your hips and strengthen your turnout.” I have torn labral tissue in my hips, which means I can no longer force my turnout—at all. But my strength has improved since I’ve stopped pushing my natural limits.

7. “Take the good. Leave the bad.” It’s important to form opinions about what you like or dislike. When I watch other dancers, I think about what they’re doing that I can to take into my next rehearsal or performance.

8. “It’s all in the music. Just listen to it.” Music is the major driving force behind my dancing. Sometimes the only thing I need to remember onstage is to listen.

9. “Do what you’ve gotta do.” At the end of the day, it’s my body, my career, my life and my responsibility to do everything to the best of my ability.

10. “It’s okay to fall down, but then you’ve got to get up, look sickening and make them eat it.” A little gem from “RuPaul’s Drag Race”!

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Photos by Erin Baiano

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