We are our own harshest critics. It can make us or break us. The key is to find out what to do to maximize your potential and have a full-filling journey as a dancer.
Photo by Laurie Young
When you see photos of yourself dancing, you can easily find a number of things that are wrong. When you watch a video, you want the evidence of your performance to be destroyed. And the mirrors in studio are not always your best friends... Does it sound familiar?
We all care about our dancing and that's why we want to be the best we can be. Are you a perfectionist wanting to look like a top professional right here right now? The most important thing to remember is to be happy with what you have at this moment. Trust me, it's not easy and I have been there hating everything about myself as a dancer. The question is- how do I deal with it?
1. Be grateful!
Just the fact that you have an opportunity to dance, go to lessons and classes should put a smile on your face. Many people don't have the courage or self-discipline to start dancing- you do!
I was competing abroad sometime ago and I met another dancer there. We were talking about all the big competitions like Blackpool, UK Open, Internationals, Disney... She said one sentence- You can go to all those competitions without problems and for us, this is just a dream. You have it right there. Since then, I repeat this in my head and I feel privileged to be able to chase my dreams where the only limit is ME.
2. One small step at a time
When you are at practice, you want everything to be perfect. Yet, did you spend enough time to get one thing right first? Try setting small goals. For example your teacher may ask you to focus on your timing, so when you are at practice, all you should be thinking about is your timing. Your mind shouldn't be preoccupied with anything else but that one goal. At the end of the session, ask yourself if you managed to stay focused and made your timing better, clearer...
3. Watch your videos differently
When dancers record themselves practicing, no one ever said everything was perfect. We can all find things to improve on. However, you can watch your videos and learn from them instead, rather than bring yourself down and think of quitting dancing every time.
Try this- you are at practice and you have set your small objective for example: count all your steps to music without a pause. With that idea in mind record yourself and when you watch the video see whether you are doing it. Don't punish yourself for not having perfect arms and artistry at that moment- your goal was different...
Also, for every bad thing you find in your video, challenge yourself and find a good one too. For example, when I say my feet were a bit floppy in those flicks in Jive, I need to find something else that was actually good to balance it out. Just like Yin and Yang.
4. It's good to look back
Sometimes when you are so focused on where you are heading, you forget to look back and see how far you have come. Maybe 6 months ago you were just dreaming to dance a Foxtrot and now you are learning about precise footwork of a Feather Step. Or, your goal was to always compete and wear a dress full of crystals and vivid colours, now you have 3 of them...
Remember to track your progress. Your teacher can help you with that too.
5. Share what you know
There is no better feeling than putting a smile on someone's face. Well, whatever stage of dancing you are at, try to teach someone a very basic dance step, let it be a Timestep in a Cha cha cha or a box step in Slow Waltz. The feeling that you are sharing what you know and making someone happy will give you a huge confidence boost. Try it for yourself. It's fun, social and exciting.
Passion is a rare occurrence these days, so if dancing is what you love, show it to others and be proud that you have found something that makes you happy.
Being a dancer is not always easy and rewarding because everyone has good and bad days sometimes. However, if you focus on things you have control over, you will make your dance journey much more full-filling.
Start by being thankful for the opportunity and see how far you have already come. Never forget that your artistry is created by taking small steps at a time so be patient and give yourself time.
Now I have a question for you. How much time do you actually spend to think about how far you have come and being grateful for what you have? Please leave a comment below.
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