Last night at the stroke of midnight, the world hit the reset button.
Motivation is the highest it will be all year, so…what will you do differently this year? What will help with how to dance better?
As a dancer, your typical resolutions might include:
- Improve my results
- Advance to the next level
- Look better in my costume
- Beat that couple who’s always one place ahead!
The problem with these “goals” is they are theoretical OUTCOMES.
To get the RESULTS you want, you need STEPS. Just like when you’re building your routines.
It starts with STEPS.
With that in mind, I’ve pulled together 7 Resolutions for Dancers that are ACTION STEPS you take to accomplish your goals.
Rather than Jan.1 “dreams”, that will dull faster than your suede soles , you can work on these resolutions (some mental, some physical) every day to be sure that when you look back next December 31, you can say “I DID IT!”.
Dancer Resolutions #1: TRUST
There are two people who want you to succeed as you much as you do—your coach and your partner.
Your coach is successful when YOU are. You are their work of art! Their reputation is based on their students’ success, and their skill as a coach is proven by your achievements.
They might see how to get you from Point A to Point B differently than you see it. That is because they have the EXPERIENCE of coaching behind their methods.
Besides your coach, your PARTNER is just as keenly invested in your success! You win and lose together. It goes without saying that your partner wants you to trust them and wants you to do your best. Be open-minded with him/her.
Daily Step: Take notes on your lessons and review them before your practice sessions. Do what your coach corrects and think about why what they are teaching is important.
The next time a disagreement comes up on your practice, trust your partner and try it their way. No one wins an argument, but everyone wins when things work!
A note about coach-jumping: this practice of running to the latest great thing is very damaging. It confuses your training and stunts growth as no coach can complete their training method when you jump ship too early.
And if you’re worried about politics, rather than helping, changing coaches right and left is a surefire way to piss off most of your judging panel!
Dancer Resolution #2: EXPERIMENT
You want to find your own style. You want to push your limits and boundaries. You want to see how far you can go. So why are you afraid to try things?!
- That doesn’t look good on me.
- I’ve never done it that way before.
- I don’t know what to do with my arms.
- I feel silly.
- That’s too hard.
Listen, none of us are born knowing these things, we only discover them by EXPERIMENTING.
To be honest, that’s a lot of fun, too!
Daily Step: Smash your inhibitions and fear. You can do with you coach, partner, or by yourself. Stand in the mirror and “try-on” different arm styling. When you practice, try a group of your choreography three different ways: change the rhythm or the connection or the styling.
Once you start to experiment, it’s not fearful, it’s FREEING.
Dancer Resolution #3: DO IT NOW
None of us know what the year holds. Will you have to stop dancing this year for financial or physical reasons? Hopefully not, but maybe! How much would you then wish for one more time to dance?
Well, you have the time now, so do it NOW!
Growing up, my ballet teacher was a handpicked Balanchine ballerina who worked with the master himself. She often repeated his quote to us: “What are you saving it for?!”
When I work with young dancers today, I think back to the times I “saved it”–if only I could get some of that back!
Let me tell you, your joints and muscles don’t keep their value with the years, so use them now! 😊
Daily Step: Dance is not meant to be saved. It is a living art. Dance now. To the best of your ability, with your heart and soul.
Dancer Resolution #4: TAKE CHANCES
I love to watch performers and athletes. It takes a ton of guts to get in front of a bunch of people where there are two potential outcomes:
- falling flat on your face
- pulling the hearts and minds of others directly into a moment with you
The exciting part is you don’t know which one will happen!
If you’ve prepared, it will probably be the second outcome. But, even the best performers in the world have fallen flat on their faces at some time! It’s part of the learning process.
In dancesport, we’re used to taking a gamble when you get on the comp floor. Now, take it further. Try new things, do the unexpected, shake up the status quo. Take a chance on yourself.
Daily Step: What can you do differently today in your dancing? That thing you’re afraid of…try it! Win or lose, you can look back without regrets and wondering “What if…”
Dancer Resolution #5: CONDITION
Let’s get logical here. We dancers are asking a lot from our bodies. They are our instruments and we need to take care of them. When it comes down to it, it’s a lot of work in itself!
Tired by the end of the jive? Rounds might not be enough—you need to do cardio outside of your dance practice.
Can’t get into a decent lunge to support your partner? Dude, you need to stretch. Yoga is for guys, too.
Footwork fail? If you’re falling when you should be rising, break out the resistance band and strengthen your feet.
Costume too tight? There’s no delicate way to say it—you might need to look at losing some weight.
Daily Step: What physical conditioning would improve your dancing? Supplement your daily routine with 15 minutes of that activity, like stretching if you need to increase your flexibility. Work your way up to 20-30 minutes over a month.
You’ll be amazed at how much better your dancing gets when you’re in top condition.
Dancer Resolution #6: FOCUS
Remember when your elementary school teacher told you to keep your eyes on your own paper? Well, it’s still good advice.
You might hate to admit it, but sometimes you wish that couple you keep going back and forth with in the results would switch styles!
You end up looking at your marks and their marks. Who marked who this time, in which dances?!
Your friends and coaches can even unknowingly fuel the fire of rivalry, but at the end of the day, this is WASTED ENERGY.
You can’t control how well that dancer or that couple does. And there will always be someone coming up or down the ranks, COMPETING with you.
Hey, remember, that’s what we do—COMPETE.
Rather then focusing on others, focus on YOU. Focus on your PARTNER. That’s energy well spent.
Daily Step: What can you do today in practice that will make you a better dancer? Focus on what you can improve. Focus on how you can be better for your partner.
Dancer Resolution #7: PERSISTENCE
I love to watch musicians, to see their talent, their grit, their connection to their bandmates and the audience. A few weeks ago I saw U2 on HBO and thought about their performance.
These four guys have been playing together for 35 years! That’s longer than most marriages!
Watching them, I thought about how connected they must be with each other. What kind of commitment they have to each other, how well they know their own abilities and how to use them with their bandmates. They trust each other. They stuck together. They believed in themselves and each other.
Is U2 more talented than 100 other talented bands that couldn’t keep it together? Maybe not, but U2 is now a legendary band because they kept GOING.
Persistence is really the talent! Talented dancers are literally everywhere, but how many are in it for the long haul? Some will quit when it gets hard or disappointing. Some will quit simply when they find another passion.
The ones that persist, will be successful—no matter whether that success is improving their dancing to their satisfaction or winning a championship.
Daily Step: Be in it to win it. Solid technique, artistic discovery, and strong partnerships don’t happen with the snap of a finger. The next time you get discouraged in practice or competition, remember that.
Cheers to the New Year
The new year is like an open dance floor before us: what music will you put on, how will you move your body, who will you invite on the floor to join you?
Resolve to take daily steps to hit your dancing goals and dance through this year with your greatest accomplishments yet!
With her husband Erik, they are the founders of DanceSport Place and have a passion to help dancesport competitors reach their dancing goals.
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