If it's possible to prepare yourself for the world of dance without ever actually setting foot in a dance studio then believe you me, I've done it. Through the sheer power of osmosis and watching every conceivable dance based programme out there, I consider myself basically leotard ready. I'm just waiting on a stage. Or so I thought. Then along came Step It Up, showcasing Miami's uber competitive dance scene and suddenly, I'm back to feeling like a bottom of the pyramid kind of girl (mixing my dance show references there). Miami's dance scene takes it beyond the limits of anything we've seen so far and you need to step it up if you're going to make it there. Here's what I've gleaned so far about how to make it in Miami.
Everyone is competition
Gone are the days when competition meant the dancers at the other studios, who you'd battle it out against on stage at your weekly dance competitions. Think that's all you have to worry about and consider yourself a step behind pretty much every other dancer in Miami. Here, there is no such thing as inter-studio friendship. Instead, you'll be pitting yourself against the people you eat your lunch with (if you make it to lunch; that's unclear): they're the people that are standing between you getting that gig and getting cut altogether. You're never safe.
You don't mess with the choreography
This seems to be on a par with calling someone's mum fat. No one is going to applaud you for your creative spontaneity when you work in your own move or fix that slow bit you weren't feeling. Learn the moves and execute them perfectly if you want to stick around.
Excuses aren't a thing
Excuses are for the weak.
Dance is how you express yourself so own those moves. Unless you've messed one up, in which case apologise immediately.
Own your technical challenges
Can't pull out a triple pirouette at a second's notice? Move it along; this isn't the right place for you, I'm afraid. In Miami, only the most competitive make the grade, so getting a handle on the technical moves is a necessity. Don't know the hard stuff; don't come to the auditions.
Have a big repertoire
Ballet, contemporary, jazz and that's just what can be expected of you in a single performance. Everything is fair game to throw at you here, so start limbering up.
Be ready for anything
Weekly performances might be tough, but back-to-back shows are worse. In the real world you only get one shot and that's probably one more shot than you're going to get in your dance studio. Not up to the task that day? You're dead to the dance world.
Respect the bat
I mean, you're probably not going to get hit with it, but you never really know. On second thoughts, you might well get hit.
Remember, your dance teacher cares
That's why she has the bat.
Game face on!