You know those experiences that make you remember why you do what you do? Those feelings, moments, words, that renew your excitement and ignite your inspiration? behind the scenes so you think you can dance


Erik and I recently had one of the experiences. It reminded us that before we were teachers, before we were coaches, before we were entrepreneurs, we were first (and always),


Our longtime friend, the brilliant Jean-Marc Genereux, asked us to assist in demoing his choreography for two couples on SYTYCD. It was exciting to see the “hustle”, behind the scenes of SYTYCD.

So many talented dancers and choreographers, from all different styles, each one pushing to bring their A-game to the stage. It made us excited for dancing in a way we hadn’t felt in a long time!

The dancers are young, hungry and ambitious. Probably most dancers are. We all know that no matter what kind of dancing you do, the competition is stiff. So, what made these kids special, besides their obvious talents? Here are the traits we saw across the board in these gifted dancers:


1. They did their homework.

They took a video of the routine and came back to the lesson knowing the choreography, with timing, steps and transitions. It wasn’t with music or very good yet, but the framework was in place for the coach to work with. Learning routines is just a matter of repetition. Getting choreo down is something you can do on your own, and leaves more of your coach’s valuable time for actually improving your dancing.

2. They didn’t question the choreographer/coach.

They trusted their coach. These are exceptionally experienced dancers in their own styles. Yet, when the were in front of the coaches, they took direction easily. They recognized that their extraordinary skills could still be improved by the new perspective from the coach.

3. They weren’t afraid to try

Many of these dancers were learning dance styles that were completely foreign to them. A tap dancer learning paso doble, a contemporary dancer learning quickstep, etc. As awkward as these new movements were to them, the bottom line is…they tried. They tried it exactly as the coach asked. They kept trying until either the got it, or the coach adjusted to suit them better. They might have been thinking “I’m uncomfortable” or “I’m scared”, but they never said “I can’t.”

4. They didn’t make excuses

They did what the coach asked. If it wasn’t working, the coach is skilled enough to make the evaluation of whether something needs to be changed or not. By not limiting themselves, they were able to do more then they expected.

5. They were focused.

One of the dancers we worked with was Latin dancer, Serge Onik. He didn’t want to know the schedule. Here’s why: not knowing how much more time he had on the lesson allowed him to fully be present in the moment. He didn’t think about what was going to happen after the lesson. He didn’t anticipate taking a break to rest. He just keep going, completely focused, until it was time to stop.

Your Turn!

What can you take away from these traits of the SYTYCD dancers? What plateaus could you break through if you took tried one of these approached to your next lesson or practice?   Let us know in the comments!

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