In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured!
I'm 16 and have loved dancing since I was little. But my teacher, whom I admire and respect, recently told me she doesn't think I'll make it as a professional. I'm heartbroken. Should I go to another teacher? Should I give up?
Hearing that kind of thing from a trusted teacher can be devastating. But I think you need more information. I'd suggest setting up a meeting with your teacher, so you can find out exactly where she feels you're lacking. Is it your feet? Your "look"? Your self-confidence? Once you're aware of your weaknesses, you can work to improve them. Problems with things like turnout, extension and musicality can seem insurmountable, but with hard work, they are fixable.
Or maybe the issue is something you can't fix. Maybe you have a natural limitation that would mean a career full of injuries and frustrations. Believe me when I say that that's not the end of the world. There are so many ways to make it as a professional dancer these days! You might not have a future in a ballet company, but have you considered contemporary groups? Maybe you're too short to be a Rockette, but what about going out for musical theater productions? Even if your teacher's advice is sound, that doesn't mean your dance life is over. Keep your chin up!