Dance is not only a physical art, but it is also psychological too. Many professional and Olympic athletes have used imagery to help improve their performance. Imagery is the process of visualizing yourself executing specific movements or actions. Research has indicated that participating in imagery has helped improved athletes ability to execute certain movements. For this reason, MTD has gathered some of our favorite imagery techniques that you can use to help improve your technique.
1. Find a Quiet Place
Before you begin your imagery it is important to find a quiet place with no distractions. We suggest a dark room and laying on the floor that way you are not tempted to take a nap. Put away electronics and other distractions. Make sure you are warm and cozy too.
Pro-tip: If you have an essential oil diffuser, every time you begin your imagery plug it in with the same scent. The identical scent will help trigger previous imagery.
2. Change Your Perspective
What lens are you looking through as you go through your imagery? Are you observing yourself doing the movement? Are you embodying the movement? Throughout your imagery, change your perspective. In each perspective, break down each part of the movement. What did it feel like physically? Visually, what did the movement look like?
3. Speed Control
Throughout your imagery process, change the speed of your movements. Practicing it in real time will display how it physically feels and looks. Practicing it slowly will allow you to break it down and feel each element of the motions. Focus on each body part and how it moves and functions during the steps.
4. Realistic Setting
While completing your imagery, put your mind in a realistic setting. Are you in a classroom? Are you on the stage? Are you at a competition? Are you at recital? Creating a realistic setting will pull out the emotions you feel while in these various spaces and make the imagery more realistic.
5. Add in the Senses
Add in your senses to the experience too. Pulling in all of the senses will further make the experience more realistic. Consider things such as: what do you see? Your teacher? Your peers? Do you hear anything? Music? Are you sweating?
If you keep making mistakes in your imagery process, take a few deep breaths to re-focus. Often making mistakes in the visualization process indicates a lack of confidence in the movement in general. This is completely normal. Through more imagery and physical practice, your confidence with grow in the steps and mistakes will become less.
Like dance, practice is key to improvement. An important aspect of imagery is repetition. Repetition will make imagery easier and will also impact your technique even more.
Pro-tip: Set aside just five minutes each day for imagery and focus on one skill for the whole week.