Job seekers like me have to understand and be able to articulate what makes them a more superior hire compared to everyone else in the job-seeking crowd.
My interest and training in classical ballet is pretty unique, even if technically I am a non-professional but well-keen ballerina who can match it with the best amateur dancers New York City has to offer.
I know that out of a pool of similar job candidates, my classical ballet training could help me to stand out from the rest of the pack.
This lead me to think about what unique attributes and transferable skills my training in classical ballet could offer to a prospective employer.
I came up with a list. A list of six attributes that make ballet dancers awesome employees and an asset to any workplace:
1. Ballet dancers are teachable
They have to be. Otherwise they won’t be able to learn and master their craft.
Ballet dancers are reliant on their teachers to school them on correct technique, alignment, etiquette, musicality and everything else that goes with ballet in general.
Being teachable requires ballet dancers to listen hard, to hone their focus, to recognise the flaws in what they’re doing and to adjust their movement to the best of their ability.
As such, ballet dancers are used to taking instruction from someone of superior skill and better at their craft than what they are. Even the very best professional ballet dancers still get corrections from their teachers.
2. Ballet dancers are flexible
An obvious choice. But ballet dancers need to be flexible in mind and not just body.
That’s because there’s an awful lot of rules and structure that goes on in ballet. It’s part of what makes it look so beautiful when it’s executed properly.
But within these rules, large chunks of flexibility is required as well.
Ballet dancers are used to dealing with constant change. Ballet teachers and choreographers are constantly revising their choreography and dancers need to be flexible enough to cope with these changes. Ballet dancers live with having their superiors constantly making changes and then having to adjust accordingly.
3. Ballet dancers are fast learners
Part of the skill of being a proficient ballet dancer centres around how quickly you are able to pick up the steps, techniques and other choreography.
As such, ballet dancers are used to being given verbal and visual instructions and quickly translating them into action.
An ability to learn quickly demands an excellent memory, superior listening skills, exceptional concentration and a strong mind-body connection.
4. Ballet dancers are always prepared
Ballet dancers of all people understand the importance of good preparation.
They know that how you set up a pirouette is vital for its final execution. The most complex dance sequences like pirouettes, jumps and other turns simply cannot be executed without the right preparation.
Also, ballet dancers know that all the work and preparation is done behind the scenes. By spending large chunks of class time doing repetitive and routine exercises at the barre.
Preparation is key for what the audience sees and enjoys at the centre of the stage.
5. Ballet dancers work hard
It doesn’t matter whether one dances as a hobby or as a professional, the reality is the same for everyone. Ballet is exacting, demanding and hard.
As such, ballet dancers turn up to class, rehearsals or performances ready and willing to buckle down. They are energetic in mind and body and they expect to work hard.
This makes ballet dancers incredibly dedicated to their craft. They are full of passion and love of the art form. Otherwise they wouldn’t do it.
6. Ballet dancers are team players
This sounds silly when ballet looks so much like a solo event. But it’s not.
Dance is a collective. Dancers feed off the energy of those around them. They are used to working in small groups and are reliant on their peers for support, feedback and advice.
Ballet dancers look to other dancers for a sense of community and fun. Some of my most creative and interesting friends are fellow amateur dancers.
In summary, people with classical ballet training are teachable, flexible, fast learners, prepared, hard-working and team players.
The point I am trying to make here is that these attributes are vital for success in dance but they are also vital for success in the modern workplace.
If you find yourself in a situation where you could hire someone with classical ballet training, you should consider whether these kinds of attributes would make for an awesome employee at your workplace. I am willing to bet that they would.
Better yet, find out if the candidate knows what unique attributes their ballet training can offer you as a potential employer. Chances are if they know, they’ll follow through and give you these attributes in spades.
If they know, hire them.
And by them, I really mean me.