Blog : Serena MorganWhat's Love Got To Do With It?

Published on Sunday, 24 February, 2013 | Comments

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My name is Serena Morgan and I am a freelance dancer. After training at London Contemporary Dance School I went to work as an apprentice with Tavaziva dance company before joining the cast of STOMP.

A Hop, A Skip and A Cut

Monday, 25 February, 2013

For the most recent Coda Dance Festival in Oslo Ballet de Lorraine from Nancy in France brought a new work from Norwegian dance maker Ingun Bjørnsgaard.

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The world of dance feels as though it is becoming more and more unsettling. Are expectations of dancers getting higher or lower? And what with funding cuts and companies having to take breaks are we becoming the dancers that we want to be or dancers that we need to be just to get any job in order to do what we love?

I have been away for a little while, away from London and away from dance. At the end of last year I decided to quit my job and not re-new my contract. I was traveling the world and performing up to 6 days a week and not only was I being paid well I was being very well looked after. I decided to quit in order to pursue and nurture the relationship that I have had with dance since I was a little girl.

So why is it, that in my second month of being back, it is beginning to break my heart?

Dance is changing, attitudes are changing and training is changing. We have this sheltered notion during training that anything is possible and that whatever we want to do is at our fingertips. We are not however, taught that when we go to an audition looking like everybody else it could hinder our chances of a job AND looking too different could have the same effect.

They don't teach you how to do a tax return and they certainly don't teach us how to handle rejection. Professional class has also changed. I spent a week in Berlin taking professional class - both ballet and contemporary - and I was astounded. The passion and the love for the class was inspirational.

The standard was sky high and the price, incredibly reasonable. Then I come and take professional class in London where people are struggling to tell their left foot from their right. I was nervous, quitting my job to step back into what feels like unfamiliar territory of dance and although I am no Sylvie Guillem I am just feeling uninspired and disappointed.

Talking to friends old and new people who are fighting for work, people are networking like crazy and not only this, people are tired, people are tired of auditioning and failing, there are talented people not getting work because they don't have a show-reel or the name of an established company on their CV.

What happened to sitting and giving everybody a chance like in 'A Chorus Line'? You want the best in your company but how do you think the best got to where they are now? Not because they were carefully selected from their credentials through an email and a show-reel on YouTube, but because people took the time to watch them in an audition to see everything that they have to offer.

It's bad enough that we have become a society that looks for a potential spouse on the internet, have we really become part of an industry where we are selected from our credentials on our CV and our YouTube video, when how we really differentiate a good dancer from a great dancer is from how they dance and what they give us when we see them perform?

I'm still so incredibly excited to be back, it is nice to see people that I haven't seen for a really long time and it is even better to get back into the studio but do I conform to what is happening within contemporary dance, or do I continue to be the kind of dancer I want to be and risk never fulfilling my dream.

When it comes to dance, is it better to love or be loved?

  • All this and more, when you truly consider the financial implications of being the best dancer you can be, rather than the most practical or versatile dancer you can be for this one random job that you had to take because your rent is due in the next 2 weeks. It's impossible... So if we don't do it for love (because where forced into work when it's available), and we don't do it for fiscal reward?? Someone remind me why I'm here??

  • Mac

    Perfectly written and I couldn't agree more.

  • kindall

    Amazing, my sentiments exactly.

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