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Don’t Hate. Collaborate. A LEG UP by Shaté L. Edwards

are able to do extraordinary things with their bodies. Choreography is becoming increasingly more concerned with eye-pleasing “tricks”, tricks that aren’t helping us pre- serve our instruments if you ask me, but that’s another story for another day. Not to mention, there are an abundance of incredibly talented dancers compared to the limited number of dance opportunities that are usually available.

D Trust me. I get it.

We all want the call back, the coveted spot front and center, or the solo, but at what cost? To reach the top, do you with- hold audition information or other resources, or are you open and willing to share with others? Do you grasp the material and keep to yourself, or do you offer to help dancers who aren’t catching on as quickly? Do you make dance “all about you,” or are you more inclusive?

ance life can be very competitive in nature. There are such high standards to live up to, especially when it comes to technique. More and more people

Just to be clear, being the best at your craft is wonderful. I encourage it even. I also think a bit of competition is healthy. It pushes us to level up our game. What I’m ques- tioning is whether or not being your best causes you to treat your fellow dancers any differently? Because if you’re engag- ing in any of the self-focused acts I just mentioned, then it’s likely about more than just a little healthy competition for you.

I know our culture encourages us to “look out for number one.” We’re taught that it’s actually smart to hold out on information that could promote someone else over our- selves. Some even go as far as to stifle the competition in order to get ahead. However, might I go against the grain for a moment and suggest that all the back-handed negativity surrounding competition is completely counterproductive?

Being competitive in an unhealthy way actually hinders our own growth, not the competitors’. Not only does it compro- mise our integrity, but it also keeps us from flourishing in some of the best ways possible. Instead of working against others, there are ways to work in partnership with them that will benefit all parties involved. So, when it comes to being competitive, I say, “Don’t Hate. Collaborate.”

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February-April 2017


a publication of the dance council of north texas

vol. 20 • no. 1

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