void these 10 common mistakes to reach your full potential as a dancer.
1. Coming to class unprepared. We know that sometimes you arrive to dance in a total rush and barely have enough time to throw your hair in a bun. But, when you can, prepare yourself before you walk into class. Make sure your hair is out of your face, you are properly dressed and that you have taken any other necessary precautions (taped your ankle, filled up your water bottle, reviewed choreography from last week etc.). You will get the most out of your dance class when you walk in knowing that you are ready to rock the dance floor.
2. Slacking during warm-up. Warming up is an extremely important part of a successful dance class. To avoid injury, your body needs to be properly warmed up. Plus, your warm up is also time for you to mentally get in “the zone” to prepare for your hard work. Always give 100% during your warm up, you deserve YOUR BEST.
3. Not focusing during stretches. We’re all guilty of this at some point and it’s understandable — you’ve got a lot on your mind. But, try your absolute best to pay attention to your body while you are stretching so that you are truly increasing your flexibility. When you zone out during your stretches and just “hold poses” instead of lengthening your muscles you are not actually improving your flexibility.
4. Forgetting to set daily goals. Each time you walk out of the classroom you should be better than when you talked in — even if it’s just something tiny! Setting goals for yourself will ensure your continuous progress. You can set small goals for yourself like, “I am going to try to hit a high relevé every time I pirouette today”, “I am going to focus on holding my center each time I do an across the floor combo”, or “I am going to watch others practicing a la secondes to try to figure out what I can improve”.
5. Only working inside the classroom. In our previous article, Master These 3 Skills to Make Life Easier, we discussed the “Compound Effect” which is small choices that add up to big results over time. You can do small things each day outside of your dance class that will improve your dancing. And, it doesn’t have to be anything major. You can simply stretch for an extra ten minutes, do a few core strengthening exercises or even reviewing the dance basics to ensure you haven’t picked up any bad habits. You will see a big improvement one year from now if you do these things for just a few minutes, 3-4 days per week.
6. Failing to watch peers. You can learn a lot by observing others. You can learn both what to do and what not to do by watching others in your class. If one of your peers has amazing leaps, pay attention to what he or she is doing.
7. Not applying corrections. Consider yourself lucky if your teacher has taken the time to give you a correction. This is an opportunity for you to improve and become a stronger dancer. Don’t miss out on this chance to make yourself a better dancer.
8. Only listening to your personal corrections. Listen to everything your teacher says. Whether he or she is talking to a specific student or to the entire class, there is always something for you to learn. If your teacher gives one of your peers or the whole class a correction, take a quick moment to ask yourself, “Am I making this same mistake?”
9. Not giving your best effort. You go to dance class because dancing is what you love. Remind yourself that you are at the studio to learn and master the art of dance. It can be easy to get caught up in the fun with your friends, but do your best to stay focused and always give 100%. Walking out of class feeling accomplished and proud of yourself is one of the greatest feelings.
10. Comparing yourself to others. The dance environment can be an easy place to compare yourself to others but doing this will only hurt you in the long run. If you are constantly comparing yourself to others you are creating a negative mindset and distracting yourself from your own personal development. Each of us is gifted and unique in special ways. Instead of chasing someone else’s gifts and talents, try to take notice of your own and work towards improving yourself for YOU.