Dare to Dance was born from a vision of a better dance industry. The purpose of Dare to Dance is to empower dancers to follow their dreams. It is here to say “yes” to people who have been told “no”.
Do you love dance? Do you dream of having a career in the dance industry?
Have you also been told that, for whatever reason, you’re not likely to “make it?” Have you looked at the path ahead, seen so many obstacles in the way of you reaching your dream, and thought that this simply isn’t going to be possible for you?
I’m here to tell you that you can achieve your dreams. You don’t need to wait for someone to give you permission by telling you that you’re good enough and that you have a chance.
There are a lot of old-fashioned myths and beliefs in the dance industry, and not a lot is done to address them, so every day talented dancers get discouraged and give up on their dreams.
Maybe you found that professional dance training is really expensive and your family can’t afford it. Maybe you’re a person of colour who looks at the all-white ensemble of your dream company and feels unwelcome there. Maybe you’ve been told that you’re too tall or short, that you’re overweight or the wrong shape, or that for whatever reason you don’t have the right physical facility for your dance style (ballet dancers without perfect feet/ legs/ turnout, I see you). Maybe you have a disability or difference, and you’re not sure where you fit in the industry. Maybe, like me, you started your dance journey late in life and have been told that it’s just too late for you. And maybe you’ve been told, or led to believe, that you’re simply not good enough.
I’m going to tell you a secret. You don’t need permission to pursue a professional career in dance. You don’t need to wait to be invited- for someone to spot your potential and tell you that you can make it. You can choose right now to follow your dreams, to believe in yourself, and demand to be seen. Perhaps you want to pursue a dance career in ways other than performing- through choreography, through dance writing, mentoring, teaching, dancing for TV and film- maybe you want to mix it up and do a little bit of everything. It’s all valid. It’s all a professional career and you can design the kind of career that you want to have. If you don’t want a professional dance career at all, and you’re called to something else, but you want to dance for the love of it, then amazing! Do that! But do it because that’s what you really want, not because you wanted to be a performer or a choreographer or the head of your own company, but thought that you couldn’t make it.
Dare to Dance is for the dancers who want to believe in their dreams and believe in themselves. It’s okay if you still have doubts- we’ve been conditioned from the outset to believe that the world of professional dance is a mysterious far-off land that only the privileged few are allowed to access. I want the content here to inspire you, to empower you to make your own career choices, to help you to believe in yourself no matter what others say, and give you tools and information that you’ll find useful and enjoyable.
Decide now to be the designer of your own destiny- dare to dance! #wedaretodance
My name is Jessica. I’m the creator of Dare to Dance, and I’m a dancer living, working and training in London. I am training in ballet, and also in contemporary dance. I am working towards a career in performance as a professional dancer, and my focus is classical and neoclassical ballet (although I do want to tackle some contemporary work within my career too!).
I started my dance journey late in life. I took my very first ballet class when I was almost fifteen, having never had any kind of dance training, or even training in any sports, prior to this. For dancers of other styles, it’s completely okay to start dancing in your teens or even in adulthood. However, in ballet, we’re told that although you can begin at any age for fun and exercise, it is not possible to have a professional career unless you start serious training at a young age.
I have very much had to carve my own path. When I started dancing, there weren’t opportunities in my area for serious training, and my family didn’t have a lot of money, so I danced a couple of times a week. When I was eighteen and I could work and pay for my own classes, I worked during the day and travelled all over to take classes wherever I could in the evening. At twenty-one I was finally accepted into a ballet school to train seriously. I was generously given a full scholarship for my fees, but wasn’t eligible for any government or arts organisation funding, so for four years I continued to work full-time whilst training. Only recently, after many auditions and rejections, many different jobs, and many ways of organising my studies, have I been in the position to focus fully on my training, and I have found a fantastic school with a wise and wonderful teacher.
When I was starting out in my dance journey, I scoured the internet, books and dance magazines looking for a shred of hope that it was possible to start dancing so late, to face so many struggles, and to still make it professionally. Eventually I gave up looking for permission, because the ONLY person who knows what you are truly capable of is yourself, and I know inside that I am capable. I also learned that “making it” is a redundant concept. I know now that there are so many exciting paths to take in professional dance, and even though I want specifically to perform, there are lots of ways to achieve that, and the only situation in which I would fail to “make it” would be if I gave up trying.
Still, I want to be here to provide the kind of reassurance I was seeking for other dancers. I want you to know that you’re not alone in your struggles, you’re not the only one trying to make it in a career against the odds, and that you can absolutely do this if it is what you truly want.