Jayme Thornton

Dear Katie: My Teacher Doesn't Think I'll Make It as a Dancer!

In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB 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 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?


Dear Kaelynn,

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!

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Finally, the women returned to the audition room to dance one last time—or so they were told. Instead, KCD head coach Alyssa Quezada dropped her bombshell: All 20 women had made the final cut. They would be 2021–22 Knicks City Dancers: the latest and greatest edition of one of the most prestigious NBA dance teams. "It was the biggest celebration and the coolest moment of my dance career so far," says McCloskey now. And that was just the oh-so-perfectly-dramatic beginning.

Chelsea McCloskey stands on her left leg while kicking her right leg up with her arms crossed, a smile on her face. She is auditioning for KCD. Chelsea McCloskey Photo by Tess Mayer

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