Dance Superstitions

Collector: Do you have any superstitions?

Informant: Um, well, I’m not sure if any of these are in there, but like, dance is like very different, but I also take exams the same way because I take an absurd amount of midterms ‘cause I’m in science class, and that’s all you do. But, like, I always have a certain pencil that I stick in my hair, and it’s like one of those old school ones ‘cause, like, I only ever write with mechanical pencils, like, I have never written with that pencil. But, like, that’s the pencil. And, um, so I have to tie my hair up in a bun with that pencil through it, and then, um, I also have to wear one of my grandma’s rings because that one is like the spirit of my grandmother is with me in the exam. And also, like, when I write I’ll see it because it’s on my right hand, so when I’m writing I always see it. And then, um, just like other than that, like, I give myself like a pep talk for like about 10 minutes before every exam. Just because I have to. And then I get there like thirty minutes early, and I laugh at everyone that’s freaking out. Um, and then in the theater world, I always, I will, like I always have to be listening to music, like I can’t not have music on when I’m getting ready, and then um, yeah I always like bang my pointe shoes a certain way [doing it] before I go on stage too. It’s like I’m kind of warming up my feet, but more of like a nice noise that it makes. So, I always bang my pointe shoes a certain way. Then, um, I always, I always do like the Catholic cross before I go on stage. Um…

MR: Are you catholic?

AA: No, I’m not religious in the slightest, but that’s what, that’s how it is. It’s just how it is. There’s no going back from there, so… Because I’ve done that before every performance for years. Cause I think at one point I was playing a Catholic person, like that was kind of a part of my character, and it just like started from there. It’s been like a long time, but now it’s like been before every single show that I’ve done for forever, so… Cross, and that’s before, that’s before the main show and generally before a different number, if a number ends and a different number comes on then it will go again right before I step on stage. Um, and let’s see, in my high school there was this frog, and everybody in the entire cast had to kiss this frog. I don’t know what the frog was from, but everybody had to do it. It was kind of gross.

MR: Wait, is it a stuffed frog?

AA: No, it’s like a plastic frog. It’s really creepy looking, it’s got these like, it’s got like red lips on it and it’s really scary looking, and then like everyone has to do a chant before we begin, too. And this is also just from my high school, so it would be like a certain type of chant depending on what the show was, but everyone had to do a certain chant, so my dance team had our own specific chant that we would do… And then before all my professional shows when I was in the company, everyone would do a group prayer circle together, so it also like the superstitions changed depending on what company I was in, but I like have my own and then the company has their own, so they just kind of layer on top of each other, so…


Informant is a junior at the University of Southern California. She is studying Human Biology, and she is a dancer and has been for many years. She is from San Diego, California. I spoke to her while we were eating lunch at my sorority house one day. We were sitting together with some of my other informants. Much of what she told me was learned from her own experiences.


In response to another person’s superstitions about getting ready before a sporting event, Allie was able to speak a little on her superstitions as a dancer and a test taker. It seems that no matter what large event people become worried about, each person has some type of ritual they do that they think will assist them in doing the best job they can.