5 Things Every Dancer Needs to AVOID
Just as we all seek certain qualities that help us improve our dancing, we also try to avoid certain pitfalls that can halt our progress… Or worse, rob us of our love of dance entirely. Here’s the top 5 things every dancer – or anyone learning a new skill, really – would be wise to watch for.
1. Lack of Direction
As we’ve talked about previously, one of the first things every dancer needs is to find out WHY they want to dance in the first place. Otherwise, it’s like searching for buried treasure without a map – you will quickly get bogged down and lost, uncertain how to proceed. You may even start second-guessing if dance is right for you at all. Write out why you dance in terms that excite and drive you onward, and you won’t despair when you run into difficulties.
In our fast-food culture, we’re used to getting everything fifteen minutes ago. While that may work when we microwave our popcorn, we may as well tunnel through a mountain with a spoon as expect dancing to be quick and easy. There is no shortcut to becoming a great dancer, so take pleasure in the little victories and improvements that come from each practice. Focusing on the smaller achievements helps us enjoy the journey, without trying to rush the process.
Another symptom of the learn-to-dance-quick mentality, many dancers react to unexpected challenges by putting in less effort and time into practicing. After all, a house party might be great fun, but everyone starts dragging their feet when it’s time to clean-up. Remind yourself of the reason you dance in the first place, and why it’s worth it to continue. The determination you display in pushing through will make the sense of accomplishment all the sweeter.
No matter how good you are, remember that there is always someone better. Arrogance and overconfidence can keep us from moving forward in our dancing, because we are too busy patting ourselves on the back to learn anything new. All too often it turns out we are lying to ourselves, avoiding any situation where we might have to admit we aren’t the best. But coming in second, or even last, doesn’t make you a failure – it makes you human.
As there are better dancers than you, so too are there worse ones. Almost everyone forgets that truth at least once in their dancing career, inevitably blurting out: ‘I must be your WORST student!’ Really? I’ve taught dancers with multiple sclerosis, and spinal stenosis. I’ve performed with and even competed with partner’s suffering from drop-foot and bad knees. I once knew a 90-year-old dancer with no toes, and once taught a man so uncoordinated, he couldn’t even rock side to side with the music. You are not the worst dancer out there. And it will get better. The important question is: Do you want it enough to get there?
About the Author
Ian Crewe has been dancing ballroom for over 18 years, and has a Licentiate in American smooth and rhythm. His passion for dance and his endless seeking for ways to reach new audiences eventually led him to blogging and the World Wide Web. Ian currently teaches at the Joy of Dance Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada.