DANCE IS THE WORST CAREER CHOICE
NOTE: This post was originally published in November, 2016.
Recently, a lot of my friends have been voicing their opinions on what Louis C.K. said on the Conan show. A lot of people thought that Louis C.K. was absolutely hilarious. Others were hurt or offended. If you haven’t seen the interview, you can watch it right here:
Dance has been increasing in media coverage and involvement in recent years. There are so many music videos, talk shows, clothing lines, and commercials featuring dancers. The dance community has never been more excited. For many dancers, this is a great time to be working as an artist. However, with this increased appreciation, there is also more criticism. This criticism comes from both dancers and non-performers. As a person, I always try to see both sides of an argument. I believe that it’s important to question your initial reactions and traditional way of thinking. The supporters of Louis C.K. love his blunt, sometimes brutal sense of humor. He doesn’t shy away from any topics. Free speech is SO important, and despite what the dance community may think, he has the right to say it and others have the right to agree. I also think that he simply doesn’t know much about dance and careers in the field. You can’t totally bash someone who doesn’t know any better.
That being said…
I also have the right to free speech and can voice my opinion. Honestly, I think it comes down to a fundamental philosophical difference – whether you believe the purpose of life is to be successful in society’s eyes or successful in your own. No dancer goes into the field seeking to be a millionaire. No one becomes a dancer so that others will “give a shit.” We know that some people don’t think the arts are important. We know that our careers could be short and fleeting. He isn’t telling us anything that we haven’t heard before.
People pursue dance as a career for many different reasons. Dancers can be performers, choreographers, educators, therapists, writers, and so much more. Each individual’s reason is unique and so is their definition of success. If his definition of success is being front and center, the star of the show, or a millionaire, that’s cool. However, it’s immature to insist that those who believe differently are making “a terrible life choice…the worst career choice.”
Furthermore, the body is an amazing, beautiful instrument. Stating that stripping is the only “viable career choice” for dancers gives me a very negative impression of his opinions about peoples’ bodies. Of course dancers can be sexy, but that is not the sole purpose of our bodies. I have no idea if this is what he believes, but this is the impression I get from his comments. Bodies are not objects. Bodies can be expressive in so many ways.
Finally, it is simply rude to literally point at the musicians and call them “clumps of nothing.” Yes, he has the right to say it. That doesn’t mean that I won’t think he’s a condescending, uncouth, and mean-spirited person for doing so.
In the end, I personally didn’t find much humor in his comments. However, it’s important to respect free speech and others’ opinions. Besides, there are so many positive things happening for dance in the media!
Dancers ARE successful, just in a different way.