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“If money is your only motivation, get ready to run out of steam.”
This past Tuesday, we discussed “A Dancer’s Dreams Revealed“ as the topic of our weekly #LetsTalkDanceTweechat. We all shared what our dreams were for our dance career when we were kids, and how those dreams evolved, changed, and developed as we got older. It’s so wonderful to think back to when you were a young dancer, and how you dreamed of performing on stage, on tv, on Broadway, in dance companies, in movies, etc., not knowing just how hard it is to make it in this business. But even more interesting is how your goals and desires change as you mature, and even got a taste of the life you thought you wanted so bad.
I was on the train yesterday speaking to another Dance Teacher, as we were both commuting back home from the dance studio, and our conversation was so enlightening. We both had similar upbringings and early experiences in our dance training. We both got a Bachelor’s of Arts in Dance from really great colleges, and went on to aggressively pursue our performance careers thereafter. Although we went on very different paths in our careers, one major thing that we have in common is an overwhelming desire to pursue our other passions outside of dance, while still being active as professional dancers. We both realize the importance of developing your other skills, gifts, and talents, taking risks, trying new things, and exploring opportunities to create and build something of your own. Basically, more of a business mindset, inside of an artistic person. The two can definitely work together if you’re willing to try it.
Here are some ways for you to discover and develop your talents and career in a well-rounded manner:
1. Take Risks. We talked about how so many dancers are afraid to try new projects or business ideas, because it’s outside of their comfort zone, and they might fail. It’s understandable that if you’re used to excelling all the time, and being great at what you do, that you may be hesitant to try something that you may not be good at. But you can’t let that stop you. You will never know what you’re truly capable of, until you try something new. Thinking about doing something, or talking about doing something, is not good enough. Just think, did you become a fabulous dancer by simply sitting around talking about dance everyday? Or did you get up and dance, train hard in the studio, practice, perform, and repeat? You have to take risks and take action in order to reach your full potential.
2. Build A Legacy. Sometimes people say that dancers are selfish. We spend all of our time working on our bodies, our craft, our careers, all because it feeds our own soul and passion. But I beg to differ. Although there are some of us who are in fact little selfish, most of us find joy and purpose in sharing our passion with others in a way that challenges them, inspires them, makes them think or reflect, or simply makes others feel good. But we should take this a step further, and create a career that is actually part of a legacy. Focus your energy on building something that will have a purpose and an impact, long after you’re gone. Don’t let your career only be about your extensive and impressive performance resume. You can do more than that. Build a legacy.
3. Give Back. This is one of the most important things I’ve learned throughout my life. It’s not all about me. It’s about how I can give back, and improve the lives of other people. That’s why I do what I do everyday. If you’re a Dance Teacher, you’re already doing this. But there are many ways that you can give back, whether it be through volunteer work, being involved with or raising money for charities, building awareness about certain issues that you’re knowledgeable about, etc. Figure out a way to take what you’ve learned, your success, your failures, your experiences, and use that to make other people’s lives better. Your dance career should not be about your ego, or the rush you get from being on stage, or in front of a dance studio. You have to give back. You are here today, because someone sowed a seed into your life. Someone gave, so that you could become who you are, now it’s your turn to pay it forward.
This post is a little different from what I normally write about, but I felt it was definitely worth sharing, and also a great way to spark some reflecting in your mind on your career, your vision, your mission, and your purpose.
Are you building a legacy and giving back through dance? If so, how? Please share your thoughts and experiences below.
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Ashani Mfuko is a Social Media Strategist, Digital Marketing Specialist, Award-Winning Blogger, and Professional Dancer. Ashani works with small businesses, corporations, & non-profit organizations as a Social Media Strategist and Digital Marketing Specialist. She creates results-driven, innovative social media strategies that are proven to increase your revenue and catapult your brand to expert status in your niche! She has an extensive track record of creating and implementing successful social media strategies for her clients.
She is also the Host and Executive Producer of the “Inside New York City Dance” television show on MNN, and is a proud wife and new mom.
Ashani has been featured in Dance Magazine, as a “Media Maven”, as well as in Dance Mogul magazine, Inside Woman magazine, & Dance Studio Life magazine, in addition to various dance blogs online. She is the author and creator of the, “Finance Your Dance: How To Turn Your Passion Into Profit“ e-book and workshop, and her dance blog won the Reader’s Choice, “Top Dance Business Blog” of the year award, two years in a row. She is a leader in the field of social media and digital marketing, and is highly sought after as a dance performer and dance teacher in the New York City dance community. Ashani is on staff at the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City, and teaches Advanced Jazz classes for their Jazz & Contemporary program & Ballet program.