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10 Things Dancing Taught Me in 2018

As 2018 draws to a close, I find myself looking back over my experiences this past year as a dancer, and what they’ve taught me. I’ll admit – this year was a tough one for me, yet it’s from these challenges that we receive the best lessons. Here’s a few of them.

  1. Energy is infectious. For an instructor, being passionate about dance isn’t enough, if they aren’t picking up on your enthusiasm. I’ve been learning new ways of conveying that energy, even letting my silly side out from time to time.
  2. Being authentic is just as important as being professional. Most students don’t just want an instructor who knows how to teach – they want someone relatable, someone who’s willing to be vulnerable at times. It’s alienating to work with someone who protects themselves behind the rigid role of “the expert”.
  3. Better to have the memories now, than spend the money later. In a recent article, I reflected on how many students regretted not starting sooner. They reminded me that no price tag is too high to do the things you love, while you still have time to enjoy them.
  4. Sometimes, you have to stand on the shoulders of giants. Recognizing how much faster you can learn from someone who’s already been there, rather than trying to “reinvent the wheel”, has given me a better understanding of how important our role as instructors really are. The world would be a darker place without the knowledge we are passing on.
  5. If giants aren’t available, you can stand on your own feet. In the past year, I’ve built an online business from scratch, and even started to earn some income from it. The huge amount of knowledge I had to acquire and implement helped redefine what I thought was possible, for myself and others.
  6. You have to be aware of your habits, to change your habits. Self-reflection in 2018, through writing in my journal, has helped me spot many moments where I would have made poor decisions, had I not been watching for them in advance. Most of what we do every day is automatic: Pausing and watching ourselves is the only way to build new patterns.
  7. You can’t solve every problem alone. Sometimes I need to ask other instructors for advice. Sometimes it’s a life coach, or a therapist. When it comes to understanding, there is no place for foolish pride.
  8. Never discount the benefits of a good nap. Pretty much speaks for itself – a good nap isn’t just rejuvenating: It reminds me why I bother to get up and do things in the first place.
  9. Warm-ups are underrated. It’s amazing what a quick jog around the floor before class can do to reduce aches and pains later on. A hot pad and a foam roller doesn’t hurt either… Too much.
  10. People are nearly always better than you think they are. Over the past year, I’ve tried to be more present for people who used to irritate the bejeezus out of me, and have repeatedly been pleasantly surprised. And no, none of them were my students 🙂

That’s my list. What’s yours?

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 eventually led him to blogging and the World Wide Web. Ian currently teaches at the Joy of Dance Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada.

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