Dance Advice

From ballet to the boardroom; how these five habits will help you succeed in business.

Ballet and business

A room with a long table, multiple seats, a screen, and fluorescent lights might be the furthest thing from a dancer’s mind. Ok, not all boardrooms look like this. But, you never know where your ballet path may lead you. 
For some dancers its time to expand their interests and for others its time to completely branch out into new arenas. Whether you continue to diversify yourself within the field, for instance as an; artistic director, leading a company creatively; a board member, collectively making top line decisions; an agent, building business and networks between artists and brands; or completely move into a new industry, such as; law; film production; economics, marketing; medicine and more. These five ballet habits that you naturally adopt as a dancer, will help you succeed in business and more.

Working hard and working smart.
Ballet dancers are no strangers to hard work and with this comes grit and determination. Whilst ballet to the outside world looks effortless and beautiful, insiders know all to well the physical power and mental resilience required to achieve those daily goals in class, and peak performance levels every season. The same goes for business and more cerebral pursuits. This type of dedication in achieving results will pay off, because a mindset that seeks to learn continually with the ability to apply new knowledge, is a unique kind of endurance.

But hard work isn’t enough. Smart work is knowing when and how to show up, what tasks demand more energy and how to space them out. Year in and year out, dancers know how to set goals and how to achieve them. Ballet class teaches dancers to gradually work on this, executing energy accordingly as the class builds into more demanding steps – underpinned by the knowledge that everything has a time and place. Knowingly, or unknowingly, as milestones and goals are obtained, time management skills are being developed and progress plans are being implemented. Working hard and smart as a proactive team player, or autonomously, will set you apart.

Applying attention to detail. 
Everyone is eager to climb the ladder in business and make their mark. But attention to detail is key – it will define and distinguish you with excellence. Such traits are required to be a; lawyer, a producer, an accountant, publisher, designer, surgeon and more.

Dancers thrive on detail and when writing emails, speaking to clients, project managing, forecasting or closing deals, it will drive success, making you appear organised, polished and presentable in all aspects. 

Exercising longevity and delayed gratification. 
Dancers understand hard work and attention to detail, and in an era of instant gratification, this is where a lot of young business professionals fall short. They want to climb the ladder and climb it fast – they can’t wait – and move on when they don’t get what they want. This agile mindset may work in the ‘gig economy’, but what dancers understand, is that a ‘good technical foundation and understanding is required to build upon’ and that ‘consistency is key,’ This is critical especially when mastering skills in any other field and for building relations with internal and external stakeholders. This will help you succeed and retain business, and grit and perseverance will sustain you. 

Receiving feedback with an open mind.  
It’s hard receiving criticism, yet dancers know, it’s only going to propel growth. With an open mind and ability to apply correction, this will build trust and rapport, showing respect to those who give feedback. This is crucial when collaborating with a client to ensure a win/win scenario, or receiving a yearly review from your boss to obtain that desired promotion.

Retaining Poise and posture
Finally, how you conduct yourself and carry yourself determines the way people respond to you. You might not be the most confident in the room, but as you grow in your role, your poise and posture will make up for that and give the illusion of confidence allowing you to face adversity with grace. Exercise it, and you’ll get noticed and make others feel more at ease!

By Renata Ogayar of Dance Informa.

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