Long time dancers: How to keep your love-love relationship with dance
Let’s be honest: even the most committed dancers don’t want to dance all of the time. Sometimes, extremely dedicated dancers can get into a funky mindset that makes us unmotivated towards a certain style, or even just unmotivated to dance altogether. I’m going to talk about ways to get out of that funk and how to love dance even when you feel like it has a vendetta against you:
Do you feel unmotivated towards a certain style?
-Try combining the music of your favorite style with the movement of the style you’re having trouble with. This can create something new and exciting. For example, if you don’t like tapping to jazz band music, tap to your favorite pop song a few times. Go back to the jazz tunes eventually, but give yourself a break to grow in your comfort zone and recharge your creative energy.
-Dress the part! I find that when I do ballet in a tutu and/or a nice bun, I dance 10 times better. When I feel like a ballerina, I dance like one. Sometimes you don’t like a style just because you don’t feel confident in it yet. So fake it ‘till you make it!
-Find a friend that inspires you in the style and try to absorb their energy. By standing next to or watching the best dancer in the room, you can not only watch for technique but you can also admire their focus and excitement. If you watch the right people, you can completely change your mindset.
-Get together with friends outside of class and jam! You don’t have to connect with of your teachers. Everyone has their favorites. But sometimes, dancers start to dislike styles because they don’t align with the flow of the teacher of that class. That’s ok, but don’t let yourself give up on dance because you think differently than your teachers. Every once in a while, set aside some time to do that style your way, whether if it’s by yourself or with some pals.
Do you feel like dance is just not your thing right now?
-We all have those days where we fall out of our turns and our legs don’t get above 45 degrees because our muscles are so tight. That’s normal! But don’t take it personally. We all have those days. When that happens, focus on what you do right instead of what you do wrong. On the days when nothing goes right, positivity is your best friend.
-Dance on your own to songs that move you. Don’t box yourself into a certain style and just dance. As dancers, we sometimes get so caught up in getting better at certain styles and acquiring certain skills that we lose ourselves in the process. That’s when most people find that their relationship with dance turns sour. So whenever dance starts feeling like a chore, take some time to make sure that you dance for yourself, too. You have to love and appreciate your style before anyone else can. You also have to make sure you’re dancing with your heart and not just with your brain.
-Take a little break! Hitting your head against a wall isn’t going to help you fix your problems. Sometimes the best solution to a rut is to take a step back, take a deep breath, and come back with a fresh mindset.
As dancers, sometimes we feel like we have to love dance all of the time. But that’s just not realistic! Everything has its highs and lows. Sometimes you do a triple turn in jazz class. Sometimes you can’t stand on one leg without falling over. Physical balance is like emotional balance: it can fluctuate and that’s normal, but you have to keep it in check. It’s ok to have a favorite style and it’s normal to have better weeks than others. But whenever you have a bad week, don’t shut down. It’s part of the process.
Dance is a gift and it is a wonderful thing. We have to make sure that we take care of our passion for dance just like we take care of our muscles: warm them up, stretch them, but make sure to take care of any injuries. Dance can always be fun and it should be fun! Us dancers just have to know how to get out of our funks and back into getting funky.