If you’re looking to improve your dance technique in 2018, there are several factors to explore. First, congratulations on taking the first step! Often times the hardest part of setting a new goal is getting started. You’re off to a great start by doing your research. Next, it’s important to remember that significant progress takes time and won’t happen overnight. Improvement takes daily, or at minimum, weekly practice. Consistency is key! Whether you’re a beginner dancer or you’ve been dancing for several years, consider the following tips to improve your dance technique this year.
1. Stretch daily
Although it may seem elementary, it’s important to remember to stretch every day. Your stretching routine doesn’t need to be long or overly complicated, however “the simple act of getting up and getting your body moving is a great way to jump start the day. Stretching will help you improve your dancing by making you more flexible and increasing your range of motion. It will also reduce the risk of injuries like pulled muscles (Steezy, 2017).
Here are a few things to avoid when stretching, via DanceTeacher:
- Avoid trying to progress too quickly in your stretching, which can strain or sprain ligaments, tendons or muscles. Dancers need to gradually increase stress on muscles so they have time to adapt.
- Warming up properly before stretching is essential. If you’re stretching a cold muscle, or stretching for so long that muscles get cold, you actually end up stretching the joint instead.
- Perhaps most importantly, strength building should go hand in hand with stretching. Focusing on strength can benefit your functional flexibility more than anything else.
Explore “Stretching For Dancers” below for some worth-while tips:
2. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself!
Improving your dance technique can include exploring new types of dance, trying different routines and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone (safely, of course). Ask your dance instructor about other types of dance offered at your studio, that you haven’t tried before. Then, make a point to sit in on a class and observe.
If you’re not interested in exploring new types of dance, then review pieces you’ve learned before and make a point to re-master them. “Do you ever play a set from 5 years ago during practice, and watch someone do it flawlessly, like they just learned it yesterday?… (That can be you) if you just practice!” (Steezy, 2017). Condition yourself not to stop practicing or learning, long after a performance or routine is through.
3. Tell yourself you can do it
Never discount the power of positive thinking! “Negative thoughts are only going to bring you down, literally” (rockettes, 2018). Learning new techniques, a different style of dance, or even committing to perfect your stretching can all seem super intimidating. Remember to give yourself credit for wanting to improve- starting is always the hardest part when trying to achieve a new goal! Try telling yourself “I can do this,” out loud, before trying your new activity. Over time, the simple act of declaring confidence in yourself will begin to convince your inner critic. You’ve got this!
4. Videotape yourself dancing
Are you super clear on specific elements of your dance technique that you want to improve? If not, videotaping yourself dancing is a great way to start. Ask your dance instructor, a friend or a family member to capture you practicing a particular routine so you’re able to review your performance. By watching yourself dance, it will become much clearer which areas need improvement. Don’t be afraid to ask your dance instructor to watch the video with you as well. It may be helpful to hear their expert opinion on the areas you should focus on to improve.
5. Ask Your Teacher for Help
Your dance instructor is invested in your success as a dancer. They’re committed to helping you achieve whatever your specific dance goals may be, from improved flexibility to learning a new, rigorous routine. Don’t hesitate to ask them for help when it comes to going after a new goal.
“Instead of just going to class, dancing and going home, get help from others to improve your dance technique… Ask an instructor to give you all the corrections possible and learn from your mistakes. You will always be improving your dance technique so why not use all of the sources possible to do so? It doesn’t cost anything to watch and get help from others. But by taking the time to do so, you can see significant improvements in your dancing fast!” (Dance Full Out, 2012).