Versatility in Dance By Kimberly Brubacher
Versatility in Dance
By Kimberly Brubacher
What does it mean to be a versatile dancer? In today’s day and age, versatility as a performing artist is not only to be coveted but expected. Dancing with the Stars isn’t too far off, anyhow.
Exposure is the first step to versatility.
With every opportunity given to delve into various dance styles, each style is added into the dancer’s "tool belt” of skill. Expanding one’s dance vocabulary not only opens the door to an unexplored passion, but encourages adaptability in the dancer. As a professional ballet dancer, I have had my fair share of exposure to a handful of different dance styles. From hip hop to flamenco, the dance industry, without a doubt, keeps one on its toes. I’ll never forget when a well-respected director of a company once said,
“Every class or rehearsal you walk into, whether it’s hip hop, musical theatre, or ballet, you put on that style’s cap. You are not just a ballet dancer. You are a hip hop dancer once you enter that room. You are a jazz dancer in that jazz combo.”
As evolving artists, we must learn to be molded. To create art with our bodies––instruments––without letting a certain “mold” we’ve adhered to define our limits as artists.
Over the years, I’ve learned that there is liberty in letting your body be free to move in ways it never did before. I’ve found that in taking off my “I’m a ballet dancer” cap, I am free to let my body express itself in a different light. Though I may never call myself a seasoned hip hop dancer per se, in my letting go of a specific mold, I have found myself to enjoy the precision, fluidity, and sometimes noodle-like quality that hip hop offers. I have learned to carry my foundation in classical ballet into a style that can often be poised as it’s alter-ego.
There are elements from every dance style trickling through every art form. Every dance giving and taking from the other––like a dance.
Consider classical ballet, for instance. While it is true that all dance styles stand alone in their respective flavors of technicality and artistry, nearly all dance forms are derivative of classical ballet.
Attention to detail.
And yet, there is joy to be discovered both in the frill of jazz funk and in the lush of lyrical. So, next time you find yourself hesitant to take that contemporary class, ask yourself this: is my passion yet to be discovered behind that door?
There is a first time to everything, and every opportunity to dance is a chance to grow as an artist. To be versatile is to be free.
Free to move and explore what your body––beautiful as it is––is truly capable of.
*Kimberly Brubacher currently dances professionally with Ballet Hartford and freelances with Ballet Project OC located in Southern CA.