FAQ: How can I become a top Troupe member?
Do you want to join a troupe or compete but find yourself frustrated or not getting the results you want? Read our top tips for some easy changes to make that will help you achieve your goals!
Do you ever feel like your teachers may not be recognizing your potential? Chances are, your teachers are not deliberately holding you back (that’s the opposite of what teachers aim to do!), but rather there are still areas you need to work on to become a better performer. We’ve put together a guide to help you understand what you can do to achieve the results you want with some simple adjustments to your approach to weekly classes. You might recognize some of these habits in your classmates: remember this guide is not about comparing yourself to others, but focusing on your own habits and attitudes, so you can achieve your dreams!
1. Trying your best in every. Single. Class.
You may not realise it, but your teacher notices the difference between you trying your best, or just phoning it in. A student who tries their hardest and fails is looked upon more favourably than a student who nails it but only tries half the time. That’s right, it’s not necessarily your results that get rewarded by your teachers, but your approach to the work.
You can start by making an effort to pay attention in every single class, and taking every single exercise to the best of your ability. Don’t “mark” anything unless your teacher has specifically told you to, so that you can practice your best performance every time. Not only does this build good habits, but it will show your teacher how serious you are too!
2. Check your attitude, assess your behaviour
A troupe member should be disciplined, respectful, and demonstrate leadership at all times in the studio. If you want to become a troupe member, or show your teacher you deserve that solo, don’t be the one back-chatting in class or causing disruptions. Aim to be a good role model and set examples for others to be better. Try and help other students wherever possible, and attend classes on time (or arrive early to warm up!). One of the most noticeable aspects of a student’s attitude is remaining open minded to new exercises and concepts. Don’t be the student to scoff and giggle at a new challenge – welcome it with open arms, you’ll be amazed at what you learn!
3. Take videos, write notes, and practice at home
Filming class routines or performances should never be simply to share on social media or check out your hair from the back. Videos from class should be used to critically analyse your performance, whether you’re a singer, dancer or actor. Embrace the good, accept the bad, and look for ways to improve all aspects of your performance.
Take notes from class and ask your teacher for feedback or instructions to use at home during the week. When you do practice, actually practice full-out with proper movements and technique so that you know the extent to which you can push your body – do this in class too! Remember that teachers absolutely can tell who has practiced and who hasn’t. Teachers notice aspects of your performance that you may not even see, and it’s clear who has rehearsed properly at home. Dancers: aim to be the person who stands out as remembering all the choreography, so much so that you can even help others revise the following week! Singers: know your lyrics, practice the difficult phrases of your piece rather than singing through over and over, and analyse the music so you never miss a note!
4. Ask questions. (The right kind)
There’s that old saying “there’s no such thing as a silly question”.. but there are definitely less-important questions. When we say ask questions, we don’t mean “What time is it now?”, we mean questions that will help you improve as a performer.
Your teacher will be frustrated hearing “I can’t do this”, but they’ll love to hear “How can I improve this skill?”, “I’m having trouble, what am I doing wrong here?” and “What can I work on at home this week?”. Your teacher will be impressed to hear you ask, and especially impressed if you take their advice, practise at home, and come back to show them the next week!
5. Share your goals, ask for feedback, and don’t take it personally
Remember: Do not compare yourself to others. There’s nothing more off-putting for a teacher than to hear you say you are better than another student, so why did they get invited to troupe and you didn’t. This attitude may be one of the reasons why you were not invited! Every student is different: a competition troupe or other elite group requires teamwork, commitment, a humble attitude and growth mindset. Being able to perform more pirouettes than another dancer does not necessarily mean you deserve a place in a troupe over that person. Special opportunities like solos, or troupe invitations, are given to those who have earned them and proved that they are ready for the commitment. These opportunities should never be demanded – not only are you not showing your best attitude, but you are setting yourself up for disappointment when your teacher says no.
If you would like to join a troupe, or receive another special opportunity, let your teacher know that this is your goal, and ask for feedback on what you can personally work on to be considered. This feedback is solid gold and should be appreciated, recorded, and worked on. When someone gives you instructions on how to achieve your goal, it’s important you don’t take them personally, but embrace the opportunity to succeed!
Finally, remember that when you do achieve this goal, the race isn’t over. If you want to remain in a troupe, or continue to achieve your goal, you need to keep up the good habits that you built along the way. Any professional or elite performer will tell you that the hard work never stops – this doesn’t mean that the experience isn’t rewarding! In fact, this is the most exciting part. Seeing your hard work pay off, enjoying performing, and seeing your skills continue to improve will bring you so much joy. Even the most talented performers never consider themselves “done” – you may be at the top of your game, but you should always be looking for ways to improve, succeed, and share your love for your art form with others!