Simple Ways To Take Your Dancing To The Next Level
Believe it or not, this dance season is already winding down to an end. It may seem a little crazy to already be thinking about next dance season while you are likely still in the midst of this competition season. But, the things you are doing right now are laying the groundwork for your future. Many dance schools have official “Skills Testing” which help teachers determine if you are ready to advance to the next level. Whether your studio requires you to complete a skills test or not, the following 15 tips will help you improve your dancing and increase your chances of progressing to the next level.
1. Show up to class. This may seem like an obvious one, but every now and then we all forget the importance of putting in the work on a daily basis. Great results require the daily grind.
2. Be on time. Yup, this may seem like another “duh” but showing up on time is extremely important. Being on time will benefit you in two ways: 1. Your warm up is the foundation of your entire class. Proper warm up = Great dancing. 2. It shows your teacher that you are serious about your dance training.
3. Always give 100%. You deserve your best. It’s never a good feeling looking back and wondering what could have been. Don’t do that to yourself. Give it your all and have no regrets.
4. Pay attention to all corrections. Many dancers make the same mistakes and have similar areas that need improving. Your dancing will undoubtedly progress quicker if you pay attention to the corrections that are given to your classmates.
5. Ask your teacher for feedback. Your teacher is only one person and s/he has a lot of material to teach and students to watch in a short period of time. Although teachers do their very best, sometimes there just isn’t enough time to provide corrections to each student. Take the initiative and ask your teacher for personal feedback after class.
6. Don’t talk during class. Your attitude and behavior in class can make or break a teacher’s decision to pass you to the next level. Talking in class is disrespectful to your teacher, distracts other students and prevents you from achieving your full potential. Just don’t do it.
7. Encourage your classmates. As a dancer, you know that sometimes learning new skills and choreography can be challenging. Although you make it look like a breeze on stage, the classroom doesn’t always exhibit the same effortless appearance. If you see one your classmates becoming discouraged, step up and offer them a few words of encouragement.
8. Offer to demonstrate. Demonstrating a skill or combination will give you an extra chance to practice as well as receive personal feedback from your teacher. Don’t miss this opportunity! Having all eyes on you can feel a little scary at first but like anything else, you will get used to it and your confidence will increase. Next time you’re in class, remember this great quote, “Great things never came from comfort zones.”
9. Be a leader. A large part of becoming great at anything, whether it be dance, school, sports, or future career, requires being a leader. When you are in class, stand out from the crowd and lead by example. Be respectful to all of your teachers, always try your best and be a good teammate by helping those around you succeed as well.
10. Put in effort outside of class. The amount of time and effort you put towards a goal will determine the outcome. If you desire to take your dancing to new heights, do more than just the bare minimum. Add a couple new stretches or strengthening exercises to your daily routine or sign up for a few private lessons.
11. Take it back to the basics. Almost everything you will do in dance is built on the basic, fundamental skills you learned at the very beginning. If you’re struggling with a particular skill, take it back to the basics. Don’t let yourself get carried away and forget the “simple” things, no matter how boring they seem at the time. Executing skills with proper form and technique is extremely important to your progress and safety.
12. Remember your health. Great work ethic does not mean risking your health. If you are in pain or suspect you have an injury, take proper care of yourself. Being a great dancer means taking the absolute best care of your body. This also means eating nutritional foods and getting adequate rest.
13. Find an accountability buddy. One of the best ways to achieve a goal is to tell a friend what you hope to accomplish and how you plan to do so. Ask your friend to check in on you regularly to ensure you are sticking to your plan. You will be tempted to slack at times or possibly even quit (It happens to all of us!). These are the times when your friend can encourage you to keep going and prevent you from throwing in the towel.
14. Always leave class proud of yourself. No matter what mood you are in or what type of day you are having, always do your best. And, know that your best may not look the same every single day. Inconsistency is one of life’s guarantees. We all have “off” days, so don’t beat yourself up about it. You showed up to class, gave your best effort and even encouraged those around you. That is something to be proud of.
15. Don’t freak out. Worrying about whether you will pass to the next level is not a good use of your time and energy. We know that you love dancing and that continuing to progress is important to you — and that is awesome! But, don’t lose sight of what is important. As long as you put tips 1-14 into practice and make them a part of your daily habits, you will advance as a dancer. Just relax and enjoy this opportunity to do what you love — dance!