5 Things Every Dancer Needs to Succeed
Have you ever wondered why some people become great dances in their particular style, while others take a few classes and give up? No, it’s not because the great ones were born with any special talent or ability – they had to work just as hard as the rest of us. They stood out because they possessed the five key ingredients to succeeding as a dancer, without which they would have grown frustrated and quit too. We can develop these qualities like any other skill, so that we too can stay focused on our goals until we stand out as popular and respected dancers in our own right.
By far the most important, having vision means having a worthwhile goal you can achieve through dancing. People with vision can overcome many challenges that would stop dancers who start dancing on a whim, by reminding themselves ‘I know what I want, and it’s worth it.’ If you really want the time and money you invest in dancing to be worth it, spend some time meditating on what about dancing really excites you.
It takes time. Time to train your body, to learn the patterns of movement, to recognize and move with the music, to connect with your partner, and to add your own embellishments. Great dancers resist the temptation to rush the process, because they know there is no substitute for the time needed for new information to sink into their bodies. Accept that you may not achieve your goal anytime this month, or even this year. Focus on enjoying the journey, on seeing your progress, rather than getting hung up on the destination.
We can spend years dancing without significantly improving ourselves, or we can improve so much our old self won’t recognize us. Discipline makes the difference. It keeps us focused in class, so we care about what the instructor says. It keeps us to a practice schedule, making sure we don’t forget what we learned in class. You may practice more or less than others, but the more disciplined and focused you are, the faster you will learn.
I know many dancers who struggle to find a single good thing to say about their technique, even after years of practice. It isn’t that they’re bad dancers – they’ve improved immensely. But they’re training to look for the things that aren’t working, the problems in their dancing. Of course, we need to be aware of these things in order to improve, but we will soon feel like total failures unless we remember that’s only half the story. After every practice session, find at least one thing you did well, and take some pride in it. The joy of progress is what makes the whole journey worthwhile.
Mistakes happen, and they are necessary. Just think: If you didn’t make mistakes, how would you know what you need to improve, and be encouraged to improve it? Despite this, it’s amazing how hung up we get on our mistakes, as though it were some sort of character flaw. Much better to cultivate a sense of humour for mistakes, accepting them as just part of your dancing journey. After all, if you can laugh at them, they cannot stop you.
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.