Welcome back! Glad to see you again.
I want to talk about a common thought in all student’s minds – “These moves don’t look the same on me as they do on _________. I will never be able to dance like ________ does”. Comparison happens all the time in the classroom and is a self-defeating thought to have, especially when you are just beginning. No matter how effortless a move may look, others are still working to improve upon it. I write this blog as a way to motivate and inspire you to continue down your path, and not to let those negative thoughts hinder or stop your growth.
The key is to focus only on yourself, which I know is easier said than done. I was guilty of mirror watching others in my baby dancer days. I remember many times I left class frustrated after spending most of my time staring at my classmates. Why didn’t I look like them? I didn’t think it possible for me to have the control and flow that the other dancers did. I tried to force my body to move like the others but to no avail. However, once my sights were focused on MY path and MY progress I finally became the dancer I had envisioned. Try to look only to you during class and when learning or relearning a concept, find one thing to praise about your growth. It could be as big as finally mastering a concept or simply feeling stronger in your posture. Both are great milestones and you should be proud of your progress no matter how small of a step it may seem.
Many think once you have a concept, you are done learning – WRONG. I remember feeling so discouraged when I began advanced classes and saw how far behind I was all the other students in the room. At this point I did not have a shimmy and wanted nothing more than to have the others’ perfectly timed hips. What I realized soon after was that they all too were still working on their technique. Refinements can be made to any and all movements, and without consistent practice we cannot maintain our technique.
Writing this makes me recall a moment I hold onto from my Bohemian days (Ed. – the troupe Carmen performed with in CO). We were preparing for a performance when after a run through my troupe-mate, Suzie, said “There is always an aspect of failure in my dance”. I turned to her and said “That just means there is room for growth”. Growth is growth – all of it equal in weight. Acknowledge it and praise yourself for your accomplishments.
So don’t worry about the others in the mirror, they are not you! Keep working on your path and soon enough you will be the dancer of your dreams. All of you have the ability to be great but you must be
patient. This is a long journey but know that around the bend lies another milestone. Remember to not
get discouraged by the beautiful people around you, and stay focused on your reflection. In due time, I know you will accomplish all of your goals.