Photo by Erin Baiano

Dear Katie: Help! I Can't Do Any "Tricks"

In our "Dear Katie" series, Miami City Ballet soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email dearkatie@dancespirit.com for a chance to be featured!

Dear Katie,

I'm a solid dancer and performer, but I'm not good at the traditionally impressive "tricks." I'm not a crazy turner or jumper, I don't have many acro skills, and my flexibility is just OK. How important will all of that be when I start looking for dance jobs? Should I really work on improving the flashier side of my dancing, or should I focus on the subtler qualities that make me unique?

Zoe


Dear Zoe,

I'm living proof that tricks are not everything! I've made an entire career on my artistry. The key, for me, was first recognizing that artistry was my "thing," and then determining how to highlight it in a way that made directors take notice.

You should absolutely keep strengthening your technique. Make sure your turns are, if not extraordinary, at least solid, and that your jumps are clean—that will serve you well no matter what you decide to do. But then, focus on what makes you unique. Figure out ways to call attention to those qualities in a classroom or audition setting. If you're a great performer, for example, really "perform" each combination; if you pick up choreography exceptionally quickly, highlight that skill by always going in the first group. You can shine without the flash!

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