The Truth About The Dance World & L.A.

Jul 27

I used to blog to express my feelings, which is really how I got into it all, but I haven’t actually done that on here in a while. (Don’t worry, tomorrow I will be back to my outfit posts.) A few days ago, I decided to let it all out on my personal Facebook page, mainly because many of my friends on there understand exactly what I’m talking about. But I figured I’d share it on here as well.  And I apologize in advance for this journalistic tendency of mine to write novels….. 

So I’ve been trying to pursue this “dance career” thing for over 5 years now, and if there is one thing I’ve learned during these 5 years, it’s that my training for the last 19 years was not as important as I thought. Although I’ve loved every minute of training to be the dancer that I am today, the entertainment industry really just doesn’t give a crap about how good of a dancer you are. If you’re pretty, then you book the job. Plain and simple. And of course, if you know the casting director or choreographer, then you’ll probably book the job too. I’d say about the first 2 years of this, I was so naive to the fact that looks didn’t matter, and that it was all about how technically trained you are. I would go on auditions where I would look around the room and honestly think I was going to get picked because I was the only one not struggling to keep up with choreography, but that was never the case at all. Sure, you’ll have to have some form of technique, but all those extra hours you spent in a dreaded ballet class? It doesn’t really matter once you leave the dance competition world…. Type casting: when you go to an audition, and all they do is look at you and say “yes” or “no.” I actually prefer this, because then I won’t waste an entire day of my life at an audition when they weren’t even looking for someone who looked like me in the first place. Now NBA/NFL dance auditions. I can’t even explain how frustrated these have made me. I’ve always kept quiet about these auditions, because I just personally don’t like telling people when I try out for them, in case I don’t make it. The texts of “How did it go?!” “Did you make it?!” are incredibly annoying to respond to when you don’t. I’ve tried out 5 different times for these teams, and one specific NFL dance team told me during my interview round with them that I looked pale and washed out because I didn’t have a lot of makeup on. Even though the day prior to this interview, we were specifically told to come with a simple amount of makeup than we did for the dance portion. They wanted to see us in our natural state with minimal makeup. I was then told that I needed to make myself look older, that she didn’t like the way I did my hair because it wasn’t big enough, and that I needed to wear a better push up bra so that my boobs would look bigger… Mind you, Victoria’s Secret has measured me as D. (TMI, forgive me.) Did she want me to get a boob job in one day? Probably. (I’m not planning on ever getting one, so don’t freak out.) And lastly, her parting words with me: “I honestly don’t even remember you from yesterday’s dance audition that well, you only made it through to the finals because of your dance ability. But looks wise, you didn’t stand out to me at all. You’re also pretty short and look really young, so do your best to change that for tomorrow.” Yet after being told of all the things that were “wrong with me,” I still actually believed I was going to make the team because I could honestly say I was the most technically trained dancer in that last round of it. I would watch people and think. “Ok, there’s no way I don’t make it if she can only do 2 turns, and I just did 6.” Now if you can guess, I obviously didn’t make that team. That was 3 years ago, and I still think about it sometimes. This industry is so degrading, and I question everyday why I ever wanted to put myself through so much rejection. It’s gotten to the point where my love for dance has started to fade away, which is a sad realization for me to come to, because it’s something I’ve loved for so long.. but this constant feeling of thinking I’m never good enough is a really sucky feeling. I’ve heard that “yes” word probably 2 times in 5 years, and although I’ve kept a tough face through it all, I can only keep it for so long. I’ve had plenty of people give me their opinion on this countless times, and tell me, “You’ll for sure get it next year” “You have to keep going,” “You’re going to hear a bunch of No’s before you get a Yes.”…. While I completely understand each of those things, and am very appreciative of the support I’ve continued to have from everyone close to me… nobody honestly has any idea until they are the one’s going through it. A wise person once said, “As a dancer, your middle name is rejection,” and that couldn’t be any more accurate.

UPDATE: You can tell I was pretty angry when I wrote this lol, but now about a year later, I have a new agency, after being dropped by my old one. When I was dropped, I was without an agency for about 2 months, and I thought that was my sign to just let it go, but I decided to audition for a new one, and I couldn’t be happier that I did. I am SO much more positive about it and am excited to go on auditions, rather than with the old negative attitude I used to have going into one. I also don’t skip out on auditions anymore if I think it’s going to be a “waste of time” as I used to say. I go to every one I get. This different mind set I have allowed myself to have has made the biggest difference. I honestly cannot stress enough what a positive mindset will do to your situation!

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  1. ashley says:

    Sometimes we all need a friend who will just say to you:

    That SUCKS.

    I won’t say any of the things that you say you hear now, because you’ve had people say it all before, so I will simply sympathize with you.

    That situation honestly sucks. With the work you have put into this, it probably makes you insanely mad to see ditsy girls get the job just because they’re “hot.”

    Although you’re gorgeous, the right job will pick you because of your incredible skill. And then the other companies will realize what they’ve missed out on.

  2. I’ve been dancing since I was 7 years old and as a little girl, I always dreamt about the day that I would try out for the Dallas Cowboy’s Cheerleading team. Someone once told me when I was in high school – you have great hair, you could totally be on the team. After reading your post, I completely understand where they were coming from.

    It’s insane, this dance world. How crazy to think that if your dance skills are mediocre, but your boobs are hiked up and your hair is luscious – you’re a better qualified dancer than someone who has proper dance training.

    I absolutely adore your dance videos on instagram. You are very talented and I commend you for not giving up on your dreams! Keep reaching for the stars :)

    Xo

    http://www.courtnieglam.com

  3. Crystal says:

    Thanks for this incredibly honest post! I’m honestly not surprised that the dance is world is like that, but I can’t imagine how disheartening it can be to be the best-trained dancer in an audition and be overlooked because someone else has the look that they’re going for. I totally identified with you not wanting to tell people about auditions because you don’t want them to ask how you did. I am a writer and rarely tell people when I’m searching for an agent because I don’t want to constantly be asked how the agent search is going. There’s a lot of rejection involved for writer’s too and while it’s something that I’ve come to terms with and expect, it’s not something I want people to ask about all the time! One of my planned upcoming novels is about dancers… I might need to come to you with questions that I might have. :)

  4. Hey! I just randomly stumbled across your blog and all I can say is… I feel you. I grew up here in LA and have been dancing/ acting my whole life. It took a grand total of 2.5 seconds of trying to pursue it full time until the rejection, humiliation, and just plain meanness of a lot of people “in the industry” got to me. Thankfully, the upside to the madness that is the Entertainment industry is that there are SO many people out here doing what they love simply because they love it. I’ve come to peace with the fact that I’ll never be a full time performer, but I have found so many awesome opportunities to dance and act just for fun (and occasionally for a bit of pay, too!)I hope you are able to find similar opportunities! xo

    • Hayley Larue says:

      So glad you can relate! I agree, it’s so easy to let it all get to you, but with the amount of other people out here, it helps to know that they also feel the same way. Since I’ve written this, I ended up getting dropped from my dance agency, and tried to move on for to months. I took class here and there, but I thought it was like my sign to move on. Instead, I decided to audition for another agency and it ended up being the best thing. My old one never paid any attention to me and I always felt over looked, but this new one has been keeping me busy when they can! I’ve been a much more positive person now that I realized how much I truly loved to dance even if I just continued for fun. Now I get excited to audition, where as before I was SO negative about it! It’s crazy how being positive can make the world of a difference! Do you ever take class at Edge by any chance?!

      • Amanda Jaynes says:

        Oh that is SO exciting! Congrats on the new agency! It’s so important to feel like your agency is working for YOU and that is awesome that they are keeping you busy. And yes I do! I used to be at Edge at least twice a week when I lived closer to Hollywood but we just moved to the east side so I’m not there nearly as often as I’d like to be. Do you take class there?

        • Hayley Larue says:

          Omg!! Yes! I am Edge weekly!! What a small world. Have you been since they completely re-did it?!

          • Amanda Jaynes says:

            OMG yes, seriously SUCH a small world! And yes I have, it’s gorgeous!! What classes do you usually take there?

          • Hayley Larue says:

            I take Ricky Lam all the time! But I also take Jaci Royal, Erica Sobol, Marissa Osato, Matt Tseng… and I used to like religiously take Sabrina Phillips class, but haven’t gone in a while because her warm up is death lol! How about you?!

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