Whether you are a newbie with no dance experience, or master of movement who can dance circles around most, one thing that both beginner and advanced level dancers have in common is that they both have room to improve and grow in their technique and overall dance journey. With the masses trying out new things for the New Year, and others simply trying to improve upon what they already know, this time of year is prime time for self improvement and making things anew.
Great dancers vary in many capacities, coming from a variety of training backgrounds, skill levels and dance styles. So although they may have reached where they are by way of a number of vessels, ultimately there are a few things that most of them possess, which allows them to remain a step above the rest.
1. Practice, practice, practice!
The more time you put in (not only dance, but most anything for that matter), will result in continued progress and increased potential and skill level.
Whether practice means putting in more hours at the studio, or going out social dancing more often.
2. Increase stamina or fitness level – This is especially important for professional and competitive level dancers. Doing other exercises to maintain a peak level of fitness contributes to ones dance abilities and can lend an upper hand against opponents in competitions.
3. Take more classes – Participating in special workshops, master classes, or even taking private instruction will make a big difference in anyone’s technique. Having added time with instructors is always a huge benefit and just squeezing in a few extra classes a week can also work wonders for anyone!
4. Feel – By connecting more with the music and essence of the dance itself, you can then better interpret a story that the audience will connect with, thereby conveying a message to the audience and making them feel something… which makes you a better dancer, storyteller and artist.
5. Challenge yourself – Trying a new style, or even adding martial arts, yoga or another discipline to your routine makes you more well rounded and more adaptable to challenges even within your own genre.
6. Showcase your skills- Although not all dancers desire to be on a stage in the spotlight, competing and especially performing forces dancers to push themselves to new heights and work on other things like stage presence, connection with an audience, as well as boosting confidence. It is something every dancer should experience at least once in their dance careers.
7. Work on flexibility – Although every dancer may not need to be able to do the splits or reach their legs above their heads, having a certain level of flexibility is essential for fluid movement which helps make moves appear effortless, but also to minimize the risk of injury from tight, inflexible muscles. Daily stretching should become a regular habit, particular before and after class.
8. Watch and study the greats – Masters in any field all have something that others can learn from. The idea is not so much to imitate, rather to take elements from those who do it best and implement bits of their essence into your own, ultimately creating a unique (and sometimes totally new) style altogether.
9. Increase strength- Having a strong core and body overall helps with balance and posture. Being strong mentally is helpful when dealing with grueling rehearsal schedules, auditions, rejection, injuries and other challenges that are almost unavoidable.
10. Find a great teacher – Having a great teacher and mentor is a tremendous asset for any student. Aside from teaching steps, the constructive critiques and expertise they offer help correct form and are invaluable to any dancer. In addition to helpful feedback, they offer guidance, encouragement and support in a number of ways that can truly shape the course of their students journey.