I only do ballet and pointe. Is taking more styles necessary to become a professional? —Abby
Loosen that bun! Directors expect today's dancers to be versatile, and most company repertoires offer a mix of classical and contemporary ballet. While you can learn contemporary movement on the job, you might be passed over at an audition or struggle more in rehearsals if you can't adapt quickly. By supplementing your ballet training with a more grounded genre, like modern, contemporary, jazz or hip hop—even if it's just one class a week—you'll be better prepared.
By supplementing your ballet training
with a more grounded genre,
you'll be better prepared.
In hindsight, I wish I had taken more contemporary classes as a student. However, I studied tap for years, which came in handy when I later performed syncopated ballets like Balanchine's Who Cares?, "Rubies" and Slaughter on 10th Avenue. In fact, musicality was one of my strengths, and I attribute much of that to my tap training.
If you don't have time during the year, use part of your summer to explore other styles. Learning how to find freedom in your upper body and get more grounded into the floor will make you a more versatile dancer and open your mind to new movement ideas.
Have a question? Send it to Pointe editor and former dancer Amy Brandt at email@example.com.