Since I have moved back to NYC and am temporarily living with two dancers, I have begun to realize (or re-realize) a vast difference between the two breeds: humans and dancers. Below is my list of the reasons why this experience has been so charming.
1) Dancers are vain. Very. Because hey, if we don't think we are good enough for the job, who will? We spend a lot of time working on our style, our look, and we spend a TON of time working out. We spend hours on end looking in the mirror and creating. And we very much realize that we make movement look attractive. That is our job.
2) Dancers are very, very odd. A life full of contradictions. It's a rather glamorous field, yet we don't make much money. Eat really healthy, but consume plenty of booze. We look really good, but we are typically wearing... how to say it... an ensemble of work-out type clothes... ish... (not unlike a box of "lost and found" items). Huge stage: closet for dressing room. We can relate to artists, we can relate to athletes. Our education is (usually) only in dance, but we tend to be so worldly, and sharper than your average bear. These things are puzzling for others, but it all makes perfect sense to us.
3) The injuries. On any given night when I come home, someone is icing. Or massaging. Or stretching and/or sporting some sort of brace or wrap. One morning C left at the crack of dawn. "Where you headed C?" "Oh, just swinging by the doctor before rehearsal! But if I need surgery I'll get it after the season! Have a good day!" Speaking of doctors, they often times just confirm what we already know is wrong with our various overuse injuries. Dancers are SO IN TUNE with their bodies. It really blows my mind.
4) Everything pops. Constantly and loudly. Knees, hips, elbows, knuckles, back, toes, ankles, shoulders. Hell, I'm pretty sure the neighbors think we have African drums up in here. Normal people are freaked out, but this is just how we start/end/get through the day.
5) Everything revolves around dance. "Yeah, I'll go to yoga! I totally want to stretch in parallel."
6) We can adapt to any situation. Anything. Director tells us to stand on our head then we have to stand on our head. End of story.
Make it to the other side in eight counts? Done.
Learn it all from the video? Wouldn't be the first time.
Have to sing in the audition? Doe Ré MEEEEEEEEEEEE!
You need a place to stay? Sure.
Can't be in two places at once? Yes you can.
Need that square to fit in the circle? Okay.
7) Copious amounts of coffee. A few old ballet-school friends and I have a pre-saved text template for every year when Starbucks comes out with their holiday beverages. Also, I have not been in this apartment once without their being a pot of coffee out.
8) Even an untrained eye can pick a dancer out of a crowd. There's just something about them... (it's the posture people, and perpetually semi-turned out feet, and the focus... and the...)
9) Finances. Are so meticulously calculated. Taking unemployment during layoff season, or teaching, or free-lance work... you name it. We know, down to the penny, exactly how to get by. Please do not move those receipts. And also you owe me for that organic salad, remember? No it's okay. Just whenever you can.
10) I am hard pressed to believe that you will ever find a group of people who work harder than professional dancers. The attention to detail, the obedience, the creativity, and the discipline required to make it in this field is simply unparalleled.
Sarah writes a blog at sarahdraugelis.wordpress.com, where this piece first appeared.