We’ve all seen the clickbait headlines “10 things you need to do to be a great dancer!” and “Top 5 stretching trends you must do now!”. We are already doing so many things, that I think it’s time for a new list. That’s why this blog entry is all about taking a look at what you need to give up to be a successful dancer.
1. Negative Self Talk
Starting out with the big guns here! Negative self talk only breeds bad habits. Do you really think Sir Edmund Hillary ever told himself he couldn’t make it to the top of Mt Everest? You betcha bottom dollar he didn’t! There would have been a lot of people doubting him, but he never let those people get inside his head. He knew what he had to do and if we could now ask him, he would say “I just kept picturing what I wanted to do and then I did it.” Or something along those lines.
No one is saying you need to love yourself, just don’t talk down to yourself. You are made up of the thoughts you think and negative ones shut off your super powers which stops you being a successful dancer.
Stop pretending and start doing!
Not to be confused with “fake it until you make it”, this is all about actually digging in and getting your hands dirty. You can’t get something done simply by telling everyone that you’re doing it. “Oh I’m going to practise tonight after work” you say to everyone… while deep down you know you’ll be on the couch, watching Netflix eating icecream.
Get off the couch and practise. Stop pretending you’ll do it. Take a Nike approach – Just do it.
3. Feeling Comfortable
Nothing new ever got produced by someone sitting inside their comfort zone. If you’re not feeling uncomfortable, awkward, weird, vulnerable, then you’re not getting out to the edges of what can be done and developing your skills. Successful dancers love living in their discomfort zone.
4. Making Excuses
Should go without saying, but if you want to get things done, you gotta put in the work. You didn’t any practise at all today because you needed to change the sheets on your bed? You could have done a micropractise or a longer practise while the washing machine was running. Didn’t feel you had the energy to dance? Stretch, do some yoga or just listen to the music for your choreography you’re working on.
There’s always an excuse not to work. People who really want to succeed find reasons they can in the reasons that they can’t. Or find something they can do even if their body is physically telling them they can’t.
Do you really need to scroll aimlessly through Facebook? Didn’t you only check your Instagram 5 minutes ago? Surely isn’t wrong if you do the dishes/washing/sweep the floor.
Every distraction adds up. 5 minutes on Facebook is 5 minutes you could have been practising. The 10 minutes to do the dishes, 10 minutes more yoga to keep your body feeling better.
Put the phone on silent, log out of facebook/instagram, turn off the TV, and let the washing wait. Dance now, go into the dark playground of distractions later.
6. Being perfect
The thing about being a perfectionist is that you’re often riddled with guilt and anxiety about being perfect. Anxiety is not your friend when you’re trying to focus. So put aside being perfect, embrace your imperfections and knowledge gaps and work on being the best dancer you can be. A successful dancer understands that perfect is the enemy of done.
7. Following the herd
What sets people like Mikhail Baryshnikov and other dance leaders apart from the other members of the chorus line? They don’t settle on being as good as everyone else. Infact they don’t set their goals on what anyone else is doing at all.
I do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to to dance better than myself.Mikhail Baryshnikov
When you are working to other people’s expectations of you, you may not be working to your full potential at all.
So there you have it. The things you need to give up in order to become a successful dancer. Even if you take on some of these, you’ll find that you’ll start to get better and better.
Remember being a successful dancer is measured by you reaching your goals, not by how someone else views you.
Ever been interested in trying out a dance class? Check out the upcoming classes with APB Dance and maybe you might find a new direction you didn’t realise you enjoyed!