In December of this year, I’ll be 41 years old. I would say that most people in, what I call the “normal” world, are just hitting their stride in their careers by the time they’re 40. Not dancers, our careers are ending.
Can you imagine not only retiring from the job you love but having to seek out another career path that you love just as much? That’s what dancers have to do. And if my friends are anything like me, it’s always in the back of our minds.
So, OK, big deal, we find a new job. Sounds easy right? For a dancer, it’s not. In fa, t it can be really frustrating. The reason is, most employers won’t hire a dancer because on paper it looks like we don’t have enough experience. Even the most basic, entry-level jobs have been reluctant to hire me because I “don’t have the experience” they need.
What many employers don’t realize is that dancers are some of the BEST people to hire.
Dancers have an excellent work ethic. We work damn hard, and we use our entire bodies. You could never call any of us lazy, we really don’t know how to be. You can’t half-ass holding your leg beside your ear without using your hands, so we definitely won’t half-ass it in the office. We also pick up things really quickly. We have to, it’s part of our job. Every dancer I know has had to learn a new number an hour before a show.
Dancers are more intelligent and much more worldly than you think. Most of us have traveled extensively throughout the world experiencing different cultures and lifestyles. My first professional show was in Japan where I fell in love with the culture and even learned enough of the language to be able to communicate effectively. Employees with experiences like these are assets to a company but many employers overlook this for someone with more “experience” who has barely been beyond their own front porch.
Dancers are flexible. I don’t just mean physically flexible, I mean flexible when it comes to things that are thrown at them. Any dancer you meet would lose count of how many times they’ve been in the middle of a show and had to go on stage and perform a role that they weren’t supposed to perform that night because another dancer got injured. I became a cast member in “X Rocks” in March 2016. The day before I was supposed to go into the show for the first time our dance captain called and said I would have to go into the show that night because someone had gotten hurt. I knew the choreography, of course, but I had never done the show in any of the costumes, wearing any of the shoes, or with any of the other girls on stage and there was no time for a rehearsal. I did it though, because that’s what dancers do, we just do it.
Lastly, dancers have excellent game face. What do I mean by this? I mean, that when our audience members come to see the show they expect a great show no matter what is going on in the dancers’ lives. We’ve all danced while really ill, we’ve all danced severely injured, some of us have danced hours after horrific breakups or divorces, or after our dog has died in our arms.
I watched my mother succumb to cancer and the day after I flew back to Vegas I was back in the show with a smile on my face. Why? Because when it comes to showbiz there are no disclaimers. The audience doesn’t care about anything other than an excellent show. If you want an employee who will do their job and do it well no matter what, you need to hire a dancer.
I could write an entire novel about why dancers make great employees but instead I’ll end with this, if a dancer should be sitting across a desk from you some day asking for a job, give them a chance, they will most likely be the best employee you’ve ever hired.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Be sure to check out our other guest column today about the current changing scene of Las Vegas show business through the eyes of show producer and manager Seth Yudof.
Tomorrow, news of this week’s world darts competition in Las Vegas and meet “Dancing with the Stars” favorite Maksim Chmerkovskiy, who has opened a studio here in Summerlin.