As we come up on our first Team 8100 dance competition of 2018 (Celebrity Dance in Denver January 19-21), I’m reminded of how hard dancers work to reach their performance goals. And, the one piece of advice I give to all of my dancers is: As soon as you leave your dance class, that’s when the work should begin.
I can’t remember a time when I left a class and didn’t feel exhilarated. Maybe it was the teacher. Maybe a particular song. Or maybe it was the amount of corrections I was given. But, I learned over the years that dancing is more about how we can improve and what drives us to do so, and less about us being hard on ourselves. Almost immediately after each class, I would download the song taught in the center floor combination, and play it on repeat while going over the choreography in my head. The first opportunity to practice it again, I would take it – while setting the dinner table, brushing my teeth, in front of the mirror when getting ready for bed. The constant drive to “get it right” would take over and I would practice until I did just that.
As a teacher, I give my dancers homework every night. Not because I want to torture them with more homework, but because I feel it’s necessary for real growth as a dancer.
#1. STRETCH at home! I was never naturally flexible. I had to work hard, and that meant extra stretching at home.
#2. PRACTICE and think about the piece BEFORE coming into class. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about being prepared.
#3. LISTEN to critique in class! The dancers that see the most improvement are the ones who can apply corrections immediately.
I think the best way to approach dance in the New Year is to write your goals down but BE ACCOUNTABLE for reaching those goals. There is no lack of time, only lack of focus.