“Where do I even begin?”
“Everyone else who wants to be a performer has been dancing since they were 3.”
“I missed my window.”
“It’s too late.”
I’ve been coaching students in Musical Theater dance for over a decade. From kids who just like to sing and dance, all the way up to students who dream of being on stage for a living, and all levels in between. As I sit down with parents and students for the first time to learn about them and make a plan for their college audition success, the words I hear the most are “I have the least experience with dance”, “I feel really behind”, or “I should have started dancing sooner.”
Believe me, I get it. Dance can seem scary. Heck, dance IS scary. Anyone can hum around their house, sing to the radio, or casually recite monologues they’ve heard in movies… that’s just talking, pretending and phonating. Dancing, however, usually requires formal coaching, a dance studio, onlookers, and tights! Somehow dance is a spectator sport, and for those who have put a few hours into feeling comfortable at any skill, the last thing they want is an audience. I don’t want anyone watching me try fencing for the first time either.
I have made a career out of being a professional dancer, singer, and actor on Broadway, and have worked in the times between gigs teaching dance. My little secret is that I didn’t start taking serious dance lessons until 9th grade! I felt behind and I regretted not starting sooner. I even put myself into a beginners ballet class with kids 5 years younger than me. Basically, I swallowed my pride, put my head down, and made up for lost time. Even today, I am truly never the best dancer in an audition room (something you get used to auditioning in NYC), but I’m proud, confident, and so glad that once I started training, I didn’t stop. Even while attending Point Park, I took so much extra dance that some semesters I had 23 credits – in addition to performing in the musical. Because of all my hard work, I graduated in 3 years with a Major in Music Theater and a Minor in Dance.
The fact of the matter is, if you want to be a performer, in musicals, in plays, even in TV and film, there will be dance involved. No “Broadway Stars” start as stars… They often start as young folks in the chorus, dancing in group numbers, and understudying the leads. Even if you’re the world’s strongest singer and actor, dance will creep up on you. Patty Lupone tap dances in Anything Goes as does Hugh Jackman in Music Man, so do their understudies and stand-bys. Tons of plays have dance sequences and choreographed transitions, and even TV shows and films are doing musicals these days.
Even before we dive into the world of professional work and auditions, think about your college audition day. You arrive at My-Fave-School University the night before your audition, get your outfits laid out, and have a great night’s sleep. In the morning you warm up your voice, eat the perfect breakfast and show up early to audition. You dance first at 10am, have a panic attack because you’ve never heard these choreography terms or seen these moves before, you flop-sweat, your confidence plunges, and you feel embarrassed and defeated… guess how well your songs and monologues are going to go? I have seen it many times and it breaks my heart.
I HAVE GOOD NEWS THOUGH!… THIS IS WHY I’M HERE!
Dance is no mystery, it is exactly like your other skills; If you make the time, schedule the coaching, and show up, you will get better at dancing! Even if you’re brand new to it and think you’re “not a dancer” (I hate this saying, because it’s simply not true for anyone) you can improve exponentially with regular dance coaching. Even one hour in a studio with a trusted coach will help! Two hours will help twice as much, and so on. Some of my most beloved students over the years were the non-dancers who showed up weekly, tried hard, and practiced at home. They found incredible success and are now continuing to improve as dancers in fantastic performing arts college programs!
Why do we sometimes make excuses to not make small improvements at a skill if we feel we’ll never master it? Dance is a fluid skill. You are never “done” learning to dance, just like you are never “not ready” to start. I feel like this bears repeating:
You are never “done” learning to dance, just like you are never “not ready” to start!
One lesson, one stretch, one step brings you one inch closer to feeling like a badass on your college dance audition day! One inch closer to understudying Patty on Broadway. The best time to start dance training is yesterday, but the SECOND best time is right now.
The beauty of MTCA is, we are only here to coach YOU for YOUR audition. No time wasted learning inapplicable skills, no other students distracting you from your specific goals. Your MTCA coaches train all levels of dance students. I promise I have helped students who have less dance training than you do and more training, and I know how to get you to your goal the fastest. Also, you are auditioning for training programs, right? Why not begin your career-long dance training journey with a trusted mentor in a quiet setting – no onlookers, no comparisons. MTCA will make your transition to college dance classes smoother by making you feel confident and prepared to take on your (required) freshman dance classes with a cheat sheet of dance vocabulary, body awareness and choreography confidence. If you’re planning on spending money on performing arts college programs, wouldn’t a head start seem prudent? There are so many reasons why swallowing your nerves and simply scheduling that first dance coaching through MTCA is beneficial. As my dad would say “You’re wearing the toolbelt, might as well use all the tools you need”… toolbelt, dance belt, same difference.
Change your narrative to “I’m really glad I started dancing when I did.”
About the Author
Candi Boyd is a New York City based performer who has been a working actor for 15 years! A proud AEA and SAG/AFTRA member, she spent the last 11 years as the Universal Swing (and assistant Dance Captain) for Jersey Boys International, Covering 7 different companies, including 8 years on Broadway, and is the face of the show… featured in all the commercials and billboards in Times Square! She also has extensive on-camera experience, as the recurring Angie Renyolds in “Quantico” on NBC, as well as roles in “Pose” (FX) and “Get Christie Love” (NBC). She can be seen in over 20 commercials, and is the voice you hear at the Singapore Zoo. She also directs and choreographs and spent summer 2019 developing the Off Broadway debut of Dogman:The Musical. She is a proud graduate of Point Park University with a BFA in Musical Theater and a minor in Dance and an even prouder mom of 2 teeny kiddos and wife of one not so teeny husband. She loves teaching, and loves giving her students all the inside info she’s collected over her years in this biz. www.candiboyd.com