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Rachel Dodson

Dance Artist, Educator, Choreographer, and Performer

Technical Art & Aesthetic Achievement - A Ballet Dancer's Guide to Working

From the most celebrated dancer at your studio, to the ballerina on the cover of your favorite dance magazine, most successful dancers share some key traits. Whether you’re a young dancer looking to emulate your role model or a partner trying to be the best cavalier you can, embody these traits to get the most out of your training (and career!)

 1. Ambition - While it seems as though all dancers are perfectionists in some way or another, there is a certain unspeakable drive in successful dancers. This ambition — whether it is to get the lead role in a studio’s show or a spot in a great company — is what motivates a dancer. Whether you’re dancing on a recreational level or with professional interest, think about your goals. If you want to do something, write it down and make it happen. Having a clearly defined goal will motivate you to work toward it, opposed to practicing aimlessly with no payoff in mind.

2. Work Ethic - Where ambition and goals will motivate you, a strong work ethic will get you to the end result. Ask any successful dancer what his or her “secret” is, and most will simply say something along the lines of, “Hard work!” The bottom line is that no matter how motivated you are mentally, physically applying that motivation is what will get you where you want to be. Millions of girls want to go pro in the ballet world; only hundreds have the work ethic to get there. Always keep in mind that goals are attainable through you. Hard work is what will allow you to achieve your goal, and no one else can do that for you.

3. Self Awareness - Most dancers are excessively in tune with their mind and body. This means knowing when you’re injured, what muscles need stretching, and what/when to eat. This self awareness reaches a new level in successful dancers. If you want to be successful in dancing, you have to know your sweet spot is in terms of mind and body. This means pushing yourself harder and harder until you’re challenged. It also means resting enough to prevent both injury and mental fatigue. A dancer who is mentally and/or physically exhausted will not perform at her best level, and is more prone to injuries and losing her love of dance.

4. Knowledge Seeking - Though you may learn about the ballet world just from going to class and listening to your teacher talk, dancers who are successful almost always seek knowledge on their own. Never stop seeking out new sources of knowledge on your art. If you love it, you should learn everything about it you can. Make yourself a dancer in not just body, but mind as well. If you understand from where the art came, you’ll have a much easier time understanding where you want to go with it.

5. Love - Whatever your aspirations are in ballet, the one thing any truly successful dancer possesses above all other traits is love for the art. While perfect technique and a solid work ethic may get you as far as the best company in the world, true satisfaction will only come if you really and truly love ballet. Then even the smallest achievements will hold a special significance for you!

♥ N e v e r S t o p L e a r n i n g & L o v i n g ♥

Regardless of your goals, achievements, personality, and body; you are a dancer if and only if you love dance. When you fall on tough times and wonder if it’s all worth it, come back to this simple fact: The title of dancer belongs to she who loves dance, not she who can do quadruple pirouettes!

Philosophy of Fluidity - A Modern Dancer's Guide to Class

Exploring not only the definitions of movement, deepen your investigation to integrate the idea of how those definitions translate to each individual's particular form. Allowing yourself to be curious and embrace getting "outside of your minds", can begin opening doors to new experiences of moving, creativity, and uniting the body and all of its parts.


Strive to implement into your consciousness the understanding that movements can be manipulated and applied in specific ways. Intend to increase fluidity and continuity in motion, and the communication between body parts. Simultaneously, work to decrease pain and pressure that we so often resign ourselves to with aging and functional restrictions caused by injuries.


Class is a place where people can experience and explore new movement pathways while expressing their truths in an embracing, encouraging, and non-judgmental forum.


Come and relish the joys of letting our minds go, as we delve into our physical form and connect with the tastiness of moving from the inside out!

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