Katharine Hepburn was right on the money when she said, “What makes you a star is horsepower.” She should know. Her career lasted 60 years and earned her twelve Academy Award nominations and four Oscars for Best Actress. I’d say that Katharine Hepburn had horsepower.
It’s too late to ask her just what she meant by that, but my experience tells me that it means you need consistent effort. Little gains in basic skills, technique, artistry, musicality, stage presence, make-up, power, fitness, and subtlety can make you into the Little Engine That Could.
Think about it. How many dancers do you know who have come and gone? If you’ve been around a while, you will know quite a few. Life happens. I am not saying that that is a bad thing, but if you don’t stick with it, you can’t get very far.
Lack of horsepower also shows up in dancers who don’t evolve or grow. Despite having years invested in the dance, they are just okay. Not everyone wants to be or is meant to be a star. Again, this is not a criticism of anyone. Love of dance is a huge reason to be in it, after all. However, love alone won’t get you to the top. You need diligent effort that is focused on forward movement. We can all learn a lot from people who have achieved greatness in their field, whatever field that may be.
Take it from Katharine Hepburn. Start your engines, keep ‘em running, and move a little further each day. You will soon have horsepower too.