During a performance, the audience doesn’t see the hours of practice, sense of community or trials that come with being a dancer. Dancers are open to sharing their experiences and enjoy talking about what they love.

Melody Royer, a junior competitive dancer, shared her insights into the unseen parts of dance.

“Dance isn’t like regular school. Where most majors go to class and study with their brains, dancers have to study with their whole body,” Royer said. “You’re sort of dancing all the time. Standing on one foot while cooking dinner, practicing toe points when you’re brushing your hair, stuff like that.”

Dance is more than just the performance. It can be a constant part of students lives whether they’re on stage, in class or at their own home. Having mastery over every movement takes time and effort.

“I was taking three ballroom classes, and I was on the Ballroom Formations team. On top of that, my dance partner and I would practice about seven hours per week outside of class,” Royer said.

Dance is a massive time commitment when taken seriously. Taking time to improve, practice and grow for hours per week is great, but it takes a toll on the body, just as academics strain the mind.

Melody Royer

Melody Royer Photo credit: Melody Royer

“It’s physically exhausting, and your injuries affect your ability to do well. If I break my foot, I can still go to writing class,” Royer said. “I think the stereotype is like, ‘dancing isn’t real academics. You shouldn’t be stressed, it’s just dancing’… if you don’t take it seriously, it’s not stressful.”

Like any art form, a lot of work goes into a performance. Weeks of preparation, hours of time and even stress. According to Royer, it’s all worth it.

“Performing is typically the best part, and that goes for everyone I’ve talked and danced with in Rexburg. You put all this time and effort into making this piece of artwork, and the first thing you want to do is show everyone. That’s exactly what performing lets you do,” Royer said.

There’s a lot of struggle behind the scenes of dance, which begs the question, why try dance at all?

“Dance is absolutely for everyone. There are so many people who aren’t dancers who do dance. You can be totally terrible but then put in hard work and nail your steps,” Royer said. “The greatest part about dance is that it allows for all skill levels to just do it and have tons of fun.”

See more of an inside look on the life of a dancer here.