When I was in high school, I could barely sit in my chair at school the week before an upcoming dance convention. I was so excited. My thoughts completely revolved around what was about to take place. I would walk the halls at school and look at everyone around me and think, "I wonder what THEY are doing this weekend. . . and whatever it is, it couldn't hold a candle to what I get to do!"
Besides the excitement, so much goes into getting to the convention. Countless hours of rehearsal, the packing, the traveling, and let's not even mention how much money your parents donate to your cause (thanks Mom and Dad!). So for two days, it's dance, eat, dance, shower (hopefully), dance, eat, sleep a little, dance, dance and more dance. Before you know, it's over. So now what? Besides being sore, you were hopefully inspired, saw some great dancing and learned some interesting movements. In any case, you were likely very motivated to improve as a dancer. So, how can you feel this motivated week in week out?
Here's a few tips on how to make that inspiration last throughout the year and to really get the most of your next experience.
1) Don't stand by your friends in class.
I know for most of us dance has social draws, but your experience will change DRASTICALLY if you focus on the teacher and not on your pals. It also opens your eyes to new dancers around you that you might have missed otherwise. Don't miss out on ALL of the talent in the room.
2) Write down corrections or words of wisdom that resonated
I know it's kind of nerdy to get out your notebook after class or at the end of the day but even if you never look at it again, just the act of writing down that inspirational thought or motivating correction will help it to stick in your brain and it will assimilate more easily into your dancing later on.
3) Go in with a goal in mind
What do you want to get out of the class? In a setting such as this, there are SO many levels. The teachers do their best to make their class as universal as possible but we are all working on different things. Bring a goal with you to class and apply that goal to the movement, if you can. I know it's new stuff you are seeing but a goal will help you focus in the midst of that newness. It might be as simple as "plie" as in "today I'm going to use my plie more than I ever have in my entire life. How can I apply that to this movement?"
Conventions are a great way to grow and improve and be inspired. Go, get yourself there — not just your body, but your WHOLE SELF. Be present in the classes and then take what you've learned with you!
Sisters and former Rockettes, Joey Dowling and Jacki Ford are popular performers, choreographers, convention faculty and owners of the new dancewear line, Jo+Jax.