As dancers, we spend a lot of time practicing, drilling techniques, and learning new material in the studio, but can forget, that what we do outside of a dance setting can affect our practice. Here are 5 simple ways to help you improve your dancing outside of the studio.
1. Becoming a Mindful Dancer
Dance improves our physical, emotional, and mental health, therefore, introducing mindfulness into your practice time can improve focus and clarity. Mindfulness, meditation, or simply becoming aware of your emotional state can improve your physical body awareness. Here are some examples of how to integrate mindfulness into your daily dance practice.
- Spend five minutes using deep breathing techniques before beginning practice. You could even do this in your car before entering the studio.
- Find a quiet place in the dance studio to stretch and set an intention for your practice.
- Play a meditation on your headphones before your dance warmup.
- Visualize your routines while listening to music beforehand, it's a great way to motivate yourself before you start dancing!
2. Look at Your Goals
Setting and working towards goals is a crucial aspect of progression in dance. It is essential to have a clear understanding of your goals so you can be decisive in your dance training. Research shows that individuals are 42% more likely to achieve something they are working towards by writing down their goals.
What are you working towards right now? Preparing for a medal test? Mastering a feather step? Looking for a new dance partner? Whatever your dance-related goal is, write it down. In fact, write it down in a few places, so that you look at your goal throughout the day. Putting your goals at the top of your mind will challenge your brain to find creative ways to achieve them.
Place sticky notes reminding you of your vision in your car, on your bathroom mirror, or on your water bottle! You can even set a daily notification on your phone to remind yourself of your ambitions.
3. Practicing Gratitude
Practicing gratitude, or "thanks for the good things in our lives," has been scientifically proven to increase your mood, energy, and relationships. We know that dance is a powerful tool that engages our mind, body, and spirit, and gratitude can support all aspects of your life and your dance training!
Here are a few ways you can integrate a daily gratitude practice into your life.
- Keep a gratitude journal—write down all the things you are thankful for in the morning or before bed. They could be as simple as breathing or as complex as mastering a new routine.
- Share gratitude with others—what has someone done for you? You can express your gratitude for them verbally or through a simple text message.
- Use the 3 P’s: who is a Person you are grateful for? What is a Pleasure you have experienced today? What is a Promise (something upcoming) you are looking forward to?
4. Find New Ways to Move
If you’re feeling in a rut or just looking to diversify your activity, cross-training, in other styles of dance or even in other forms of athletics, can propel your dance training. Participating in yoga, pilates, strength training or team sports, can improve flexibility, address muscular imbalances, diversify your understanding of dance, and increase your motivation. Finding new ways to move on days that you aren’t dancing can provide opportunities for active recovery from dance.
Participating in other dance styles is another excellent form of cross-training and can inspire your ballroom training, promote creativity, and encourage the development of new dance skills.
5. Fuel Your Body
Setting yourself up for success in dancing starts with the physical ability of your body to move. In order for your body to move, you need to fuel it with something (preferably healthy). Planning meals and preparing snacks to bring to the studio will ensure you're satiated and have energy to dance! Ideally, meals and snacks should include a healthy fat, carbohydrate, and protein source to provide optimal nutrition and keep you fueled for the long haul.
Here are some of our Favorite Dance Practice Snacks:
- Nut Butter and Apple Slices
- Veggies and Hummus or Avocado
- Crackers and Cheese or Sliced Meat
- Protein Bar or Shake
- Jerky/Meat Sticks
- Nuts and Seeds with Unsweetened Dried Fruit
- Fruit and Veggie Smoothie
We can’t wait to hear how these five daily practices support you in your dance journey. Which one are you looking forward to trying out most?