10 Things Dance Majors Want You To Know

Ask me if I dance for football games one more time...


Dance BFA programs are growing exponentially with the rise of dance careers available thanks to modern technology and social media. But, because a collegiate dance department is such a new idea, there are many misconceptions about people that choose to pursue a dance degree. As a student in a conservative, "office-job" region, I hear them daily: "What exactly do you plan to do with that kind of degree?" "Do you even have to work?" While it's tempted to be hurt by them, it's important to remember that most people ask these kinds of questions out of a lack of knowledge. So, what better way to remedy the problem than provide non-dance majors with some facts.

1. We know it's risky, you don't have to tell us.

We would not be spending 4+ years at a college of dance if we had not already weighed the costs. We're adults with the ability to make the life choices that are right for us. Telling us to "just go to PT school" doesn't help the situation, Bob.

2. Dance Department is NOT the same thing as Dance Team.

Both are great, but the dance team performs for seasonal sporting events, while dance majors earn a degree in what they do. Totally. Separate. Things. :)

3. Dance majors aren't a bunch of dumb blondes that aren't smart enough to do anything else.

Dance majors have amazing brains! We learn long combinations of movement in minutes, translate verbal queues into movement instantaneously, and are constantly aware of our surroundings. All of our knowledge may not come via textbook, but the university-level smarts are most certainly there!

4. We DO take gen-eds.

Unless you're a dance major at a highly-ranked conservatory, general education classes are part of getting that degree! We have to study, write papers and take tests just like everyone else. But, we're usually sporting a bun or workout clothes in class, so we're not hard to spot.

5. We are athletes, even though we are not considered college athletes

There is a lot of debate in the dance world around the issue of whether or not dance majors should receive the same benefits that most college athletes do. But, whatever side you stand on, it is undeniable that dancers with such dedication to their craft are athletes among the rest.

6. We (usually) don't attend competitions.

Unless it's a nationally broadcast show like "World of Dance", "SYTYCD", or "Dancing With The Stars", dance competitions are usually reserved for grade school students looking to get scholarship money or dance intensive opportunities. Collegiate-level dance is for personal growth and artistry, which is manifested in showcases, festivals, and other non-competitive performance opportunities.

7. "Dance class" doesn't mean "prance around for three hours."

Dance studios don't have desks, but our major still requires an insane amount of work. That work is simply more physically participatory. Contrary to popular belief, dance majors don't spend their days in tutus skipping from one end of the room to the other. It's more like standing in front of the mirror repeating a step again...and again...and again...until you get sick of it!

8. We have many, many career options.

Many people assume that dance majors can only teach in small dance studios or perform on cruise ships. While both of these professions are amazing dance jobs to have, there are many others available. Dance majors can become choreographers, dance company members, dance therapists, dance journalists, dance photographers, yoga instructors, managers, lecturers, and so much more! (Many dancers work more than one job in order to sustain income and maintain multiple skills.)

9. We have friends outside of our department.

Yes, we spend a lot of time with other dancers, but it's because we don't have a choice! A tight rehearsal schedule calls for hours spent with other dance majors, but everyone needs a break! Some dancers are in Greek organizations and social groups on their college campus. Others make friends in their gen-ed classes, apartment complexes, bible studies, etc.!

10. We're not snooty!

In my experience, dance majors are very open-minded and inclusive because they understand what it means to work in a restrictive, highly disciplined environment, and no one wants to live like that all day! We have a rep for being "above it all" as artists, but that heir of confidence is mostly reserved for performance aesthetic.

Now that you've been educated on the world of the collegiate dancer, you too can refrain from making dream-crushing statements about dance majors! Congrats!

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To The Coach Who Took Away My Confidence

You had me playing in fear.
"The road to athletic greatness is not marked by perfection, but the ability to constantly overcome adversity and failure."

As a coach, you have a wide variety of players. You have your slow players, your fast players. You have the ones that are good at defense. You have the ones that are good at offense. You have the ones who would choose to drive and dish and you have the ones that would rather shoot the three. You have the people who set up the plays and you have the people who finish them. You are in charge of getting these types of players to work together and get the job done.

Sure, a coach can put together a pretty set of plays. A coach can scream their head off in a game and try and get their players motivated. A coach can make you run for punishment, or they can make you run to get more in shape. The most important role of a coach, however, is to make the players on their team better. To hopefully help them to reach their fullest potential. Players do make mistakes, but it is from those mistakes that you learn and grow.

To the coach the destroyed my confidence,

You wanted to win, and there was nothing wrong with that. I saw it in your eyes if I made a mistake, you were not too happy, which is normal for a coach. Turnovers happen. Players miss shots. Sometimes the girl you are defending gets past you. Sometimes your serve is not in bounds. Sometimes someone beats you in a race. Sometimes things happen. Players make mistakes. It is when you have players scared to move that more mistakes happen.

I came on to your team very confident in the way that I played the game. Confident, but not cocky. I knew my role on the team and I knew that there were things that I could improve on, but overall, I was an asset that could've been made into an extremely great player.

You paid attention to the weaknesses that I had as a player, and you let me know about them every time I stepped onto the court. You wanted to turn me into a player I was not. I am fast, so let me fly. You didn't want that. You wanted me to be slow. I knew my role wasn't to drain threes. My role on the team was to get steals. My role was to draw the defense and pass. You got mad when I drove instead of shot. You wanted me to walk instead of run. You wanted me to become a player that I simply wasn't. You took away my strengths and got mad at me when I wasn't always successful with my weaknesses.

You did a lot more than just take away my strengths and force me to focus on my weaknesses. You took away my love for the game. You took away the freedom of just playing and being confident. I went from being a player that would take risks. I went from being a player that was not afraid to fail. Suddenly, I turned into a player that questioned every single move that I made. I questioned everything that I did. Every practice and game was a battle between my heart and my head. My heart would tell me to go to for it. My heart before every game would tell me to just not listen and be the player that I used to be. Something in my head stopped me every time. I started wondering, "What if I mess up?" and that's when my confidence completely disappeared.

Because of you, I was afraid to fail.

You took away my freedom of playing a game that I once loved. You took away the relaxation of going out and playing hard. Instead, I played in fear. You took away me looking forward to go to my games. I was now scared of messing up. I was sad because I knew that I was not playing to my fullest potential. I felt as if I was going backward and instead of trying to help me, you seemed to just drag me down. I'd walk up to shoot, thinking in my head, "What happens if I miss?" I would have an open lane and know that you'd yell at me if I took it, so I just wouldn't do it.

SEE ALSO: The Coach That Killed My Passion

The fight to get my confidence back was a tough one. It was something I wish I never would've had to do. Instead of becoming the best player that I could've been, I now had to fight to become the player that I used to be. You took away my freedom of playing a game that I loved. You took away my good memories in a basketball uniform, which is something I can never get back. You can be the greatest athlete in the world, but without confidence, you won't go very far.

Cover Image Credit: Christina Silies

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Andy Ruiz Jr. May Not Look Like The Typical Boxer, But It Doesn't Make His Victory Any Less Deserved

Andy Ruiz Jr. just proved that dreams can come true.


On June 1, boxing fans witnessed something special as Andy 'Destroyer' Ruiz Jr. defeated Anthony Joshua via TKO after going seven rounds in the ring at Madison Square Garden in New York City to become the first ever Mexican-American heavyweight champion of the world. Ruiz Jr. (33-1) was a heavy underdog (+1100) heading into the match-up with Joshua (22-1) but ultimately flipped the script to hand the British fighter his first professional loss ever. Surely the fight will go down as one of the greatest moments in sports history.

Some members of the media and fans have been quick to label the fight as a 'fluke' and 'rigged' which in the end is no surprise to me. That always happens in the sports world. Many did not believe we would get this result yet failed to remember the one rule of sports -- expect the unexpected. Over the past week, I've been coming to the defense of Ruiz Jr. in the wake of others choosing to call him a joke.

I was shocked and surprised to hear two of my favorite sports analysts, Stephen A. Smith and Shannon Sharpe, make fun of Ruiz Jr. and frame him as just a guy that looked like 'Butterbean.' When I viewed their tweets on social media it honestly made me upset. Sure, Ruiz Jr. may not have fit the mold of what a professional boxer should look like, but they simply should not have just judged a book by its cover.

Personally, I thought it was disrespectful for Smith and Sharpe to throw shade at Ruiz Jr. in the way they did. I felt like they should have done a better job of acknowledging the winner considering the result of the match. Yet choosing to bash someone because of their physical composition appeared like a low blow. The very foundation of sports allows people of all shapes, sizes, genders, races, and backgrounds to compete -- that's why most people follow them in the first place.

Smith was open behind his reasoning for his tweets in which I'd like to shed some light on. Smith was upset about how boxing time after time contains elements of corruption with fans having to wait years until promoters schedule big fights. He along with other followers of the sport were looking forward to the highly anticipated yet potential future match-up between Joshua and fellow heavyweight Deontay Wilder. Smith believes that by Ruiz Jr. beating Joshua it essentially diminished the chances of that fight ever happening with the same amount of buildup, but that still doesn't provide any excuse for mocking the new heavyweight champ.

Ruiz Jr. was there for a reason and ultimately seized the opportunity that was right in front of him -- that's not his fault for getting the job done. Just because someone doesn't look like the part doesn't mean they don't possess the same qualities and characteristics as their counterparts. The following pair of videos display the amount of talent Ruiz Jr. does have in the ring. Even fellow boxer Canelo Alvarez and former UFC lightweight/featherweight champion Conor McGregor acknowledge that and have come out to say something on their behalf.

Unfortunately, I don't expect much to change because most will stand their ground and continue to behave the same way. All I'm saying is I did not enjoy some of the top figures within sports media stereotyping Ruiz Jr. based on his looks. I would think that we would be better than that and recognize that anyone can accomplish something great in this world. It all just starts with a simple dream.

I understand and respect other people's takes on this subject, maybe I'm looking into things deeper than what they are, but it struck a chord with me and I felt the need to say something about it.

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