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      It’s that time of year again! Dancers are returning to school as well as going back to dance. It can be an exciting time, as well as one that can leave us feeling a little nervous. So, I was thinking, there are five things I would like dancers to think about and remember as you start your new year.

Placement

We may have some anticipation as to which class we are going to be in, what level we will be at, or who we will be with in class. Maybe we are moved up a level and don’t think we are ready for it. Remember, if your teacher saw that you had that potential, know that they are confident that you can do this! Perhaps, we stayed at the same level and our friends moved out. Trust the process! Maybe this level is just where you should be, and this is your year to really shine. Ultimately, wherever you are placed will be up to your teacher’s or the studio owners, so don’t be discouraged or complain because that rarely gets you anywhere. Instead, remember my second point …

Work

If you have moved up a level, work hard to prove that you belong there. If you have stayed at the same level, work hard to show that you want to grow and learn so that you can move up. I think it’s easy when we are good at something – or maybe one of the top dancers in our class – to not push ourselves as hard as we should. Maybe some things come easy to you. My advice to you is to work hard. Just keep working, keep focused on your craft. Nobody’s perfect and there’s always something that we can work on. Not sure what that is? Ask your teacher for help to improve, to become better at your art. Be humble and accept their guidance and advice. If you’re struggling and feel like you can’t keep up, or you don’t feel like you’re at the top of the class, keep working. Stay focused.

Patience

In this world we live in, we can have almost anything with the push of a button or the flip of a switch. If we’re not careful, it can be easy to let that attitude extend into the classroom. When we’re first starting out in dance we make big leaps and bounds. We couldn’t do a single pirouette and then when we finally did, that was huge! But the process from one turn to two or two to three might take a lot longer. Patience is important so remember to always be patient with yourself. Be patient with the art form, going back to number two, working hard over a long period of time. Patience produces awesome results! Hard work and patience always pay off in the long run.

Judgement

Don’t judge yourself or others. This can be a hard one because we are surrounded by judgement – either of ourselves or those around us. It’s very easy to let that rub off on us and before we know it, we are starting to judge. Maybe somebody does something impressive that we can’t do yet. Will we be happy for them? Or will we pretend to be happy while inside we are mad at ourselves for not being able to do it? Remember, everybody’s journey is different. When you can celebrate someone else’s success while enjoying your own, that’s an important moment. So, the next time you start to get down on yourself, begin to feel self-doubt, or realize you are judging someone else, take a moment to remember: Everybody’s journey is different and your journey is no better and no worse than anybody else’s.

Joy

Have fun!! Dancing is supposed to be fun, but when we are working in a competitive environment (competition team or Solo) sometimes the practice can wear us out. The hard work, over time, can take the fun out of what we love if we’re not careful. Before you get overwhelmed and think that you might need to take the year off (and hey! Maybe you will need to, and that is absolutely fine!) don’t forget to take time to do fun things outside of dance. Enjoy time with your friends and family. Keep a good balance between dance and life. If you do, your life will always have dance. 

Here’s to a great year! If you found any of these to be particularly important to you, please leave a comment and let me know. And if you have anything to add, please share. I would love to hear about it. 

DANCE On! – Jake