Yes, New Year's resolutions are still a thing! As obnoxious as it is to be constantly bombarded by "What's your New Year's resolution this year?," this goal-setting tradition can actually be the first step in making healthy changes that will help you improve as a dancer. But in order for those changes to occur you have to have a plan. That's where goal setting comes in. Well-thought-out goals will help set you up for success—so we've come up with a few ideas for you to adopt into your own list of of resolutions this year.
Try a New Style of Dance
What's a dance genre you've always been curious about, but never had the guts to try? Decide that this year you're going to give it a shot. You may have been a bunhead all your life or a contemporary kween, but there might be another dance style out there that you were born to try. You'll never know if you don't branch out and give it the old college try. Make 2019 the year that you step out of your comfort zone and try a new style. Go easy on yourself and take a beginner class, or use your summer program as an opportunity to make the stylistic change. You'll be glad you took a chance and tried something new, even if it only further proves that you're on track with your current style of choice.
Develop a Cross-Training Routine
A cross training routine that focuses on your own strengths and weaknesses can mean the difference between a strong dancer and an injury-prone one. Use the new year to find another form of exercise that will help improve your dancing. If you're looking to strengthen your core than Pilates might be the way to go. If you're looking to loosen up then swimming could be beneficial. Whatever you decide to do make sure that you tailor your training to your body and its needs.
Work on Your Acting Skills
Dancing is all about telling a story. Whether you're a Broadway dancer playing a character in a musical, or a commercial dancer breaking it down on a T.V. show, acting is an important craft to learn. Acting gives you another tool to help you portray a story with your body. Whether you decide to take acting classes or observe your favorite dancers portraying new characters, make a conscious effort to improve your acting within your own style of dance and see what happens when you do.
Make Your Mental Health a Priority
As dancers, we tend to spend a lot of time focusing on injury prevention and other physical health issues—and a lot of times, mental health is put on the back burner. Make your mental wellbeing a priority. The brain is an essential organ in the body, and it's important to give it the attention it deserves. Whether you're struggling with depression, anxiety, an eating disorder, or any other mental illness don't be shy about talking about it and/or asking for help. Many people struggle with mental health so you don't need to feel like you're alone. Let these dancers who've opened up about their personal struggles with mental health inspire you to make 2019 your happiest and healthiest year yet.
Improve Your Artistry
One of the major things that makes dance different from sports is the fact that artistry is required. On top of demonstrating speed, precision, balance, and endurance dancers are also required to show emotion and feeling. A dancer may have technique for days, but if they lack artistry, their performance can often feel dead and a little boring. A dancer who performs with artistry, on the other hand, can take the audience on a journey and allow them to experience the emotions they are portraying. 2019 could be the year you get in touch with your inner artist and find ways to unlock the emotion within your dancing.
Become Social Media Savvy
You may see social media as something fun you do in your free time, but did you know it could actually help make or break your dance career? Instagram and Twitter are great tools that can give you visibility and can even help you land your dream gig. But they also have downsides in that too much screen time can cause unhealthy comparisons and anxiety. Use 2019 to find your social media Zen.
Expressions Dance Alliance president Liz Ladley addressing the company (Sabrina Thadani, courtesy Liz Ladley)
Do you dream of running your student dance company or becoming captain of your dance team? Are you a triple threat eager to direct your school's next musical? If you have big ideas and the drive to make them a reality—as well as a strong rapport with your fellow performers—you might be a good fit for a leadership role. But even the most dedicated dancers can stumble during the transition from peer to peer leader. Try these tips to make the most of your tenure at the top.
In today's dance world, versatility is key. It's not enough to be a master of one style—even when they specialize in one area, dancers are frequently asked to fuse multiple genres, or step out of their comfort zone for specific projects. With their wide variety of summer programs, Joffrey Ballet School aims to prepare dancers for the demands of a professional career. We asked five faculty members to share how they do this:
Right now, it seems like the entire world is equal parts obsessed with and thoroughly creeped out by Jordan Peele's Us, the horror film about devilish doppelgängers that's currently rated 94% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
But while the normal human reaction to Us is to hide under the covers for approximately 17 years, "Step Up: High Water" superhero Kendra "K.O." Oyesanya's reaction was to make a totally bananas dance video.