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What Non-Dancers Don’t Understand About The Club vs The Stage

Nicole Decsey shares her opinion on why she can’t stand non-dancers expecting her to pirouette in a mini skirt at the club.

As comps and recitals come to an end, dance teachers are looking forward to the summer months which are just around the corner. We get these few beautiful months off (when we are not performing in shows or teaching for camps or freelancing) to go out with friends to restaurants, theatres, clubs, and more.

And as friends of mine start planning these outings, it got me thinking of pre-pandemic times, specifically when I was in university, and everyone was going out constantly. I’m sure we all have some great memories of going out dancing and partying and then getting up the next morning for 8am ballet class. Because that’s what we did. Spending the night at one bar just to wake up and spend the morning at another kind of barre.

But what people don’t understand about dancers – other than the fact that we are superheroes for being able to party the night away and still wake up in the morning ready to push our bodies to the limits – is that the dancing we do at the club is miles away from the dancing we do every day in class and on stage. Yes, we have rhythm and groove because it’s what we do for a living. But, just like the average person, we like going out and dancing for the fun of it without putting on a performance or showing off.

So, what in my opinion is the worst question you can ask a dancer when you are out having a good time? I would have to say that “can you show me a move?” takes the ballet slipper.

Moving in heels is no big deal for a dancer, but dancing in a space where you are packed like sardines is a different story. We can dance in small spaces, but when we have no space to move, when we are squeezed in between our friends and the group next to us, we will never be able to dance like we do when we are on stage. It just won’t happen. Especially if we don’t want to get injured. And it’s not our job to jump through hoops to make you happy on our days off.

Why do I mention this? Because it sucks all the fun out of the night when people are expecting something cool from you and all you want to do is dance with your friends. Wink, wink to all of those who have dancer friends and are reading this.

How anyone can assume that an outfit worn to the club is even remotely close to what is worn on stage is beyond me. Tight dresses, short skirts, and jeans are just not conducive to intense dancing. You can twist and turn in leather and lace but that’s about it. If you can’t move don’t expect that the dancer in the room can do much more.

Ballet dancers, modern dancers, even commercial dancers have a style they could never replicate in the club. The stage and the recreational dance floor are two different worlds. The people who inhabit these worlds can mix and mingle, but their styles and cultures will never be the same.



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