Categories
Artists Business Choreography Dance Educators Goals motivation online learning Training for success

Make it stick

Start today. Don’t start tomorrow, or the next day, or the day after that. Start now but start small.

Be a student. Always be a student. Those of us who educate dancers do our best work when we take class too. The classes we take will inform the classes we teach, what will move and motivate our students. Work on your tendus. Work on your shuffles. I still am.

And when I get a compliment from my teacher, it still feels really good.

Check out our new project, Tap Educators Intensive! IG: tap_educators_intensive • Website: http://tapeducators.com

Categories
Artists creating Dance Dance Competitions Goals teamwork Training for success

Who cares

Every year there are a few months when competition complaints and criticism of judges are abundant. It’s consistent from year to year, even in this most unique of seasons.

  • The judges don’t know tap.
  • They only want to see tricks.
  • The scoring is all over the place.
  • Do judges take off points for…

What’s interesting is that the kids aren’t the ones who are upset. Honestly the parents (of my students, at least) are never upset either. They are excited to see their kids on stage and to see the growth in ability from one season to the next.

Dancers are there to perform, to understand the rewards of working toward something and to work through the nerves of performing on a stage, in a costume, under lights and in front of an audience and/or complete strangers who will assess them in 2 minutes.

Winning is fun in the moment, but if we don’t win, are we going to hinge our validity, progress, artistry and joy on a snap judgement numerical score given by a stranger that can’t possibly know what it took to get that dancer or group of dancers on stage?

Trust the artistic process and enjoy the ride. Nobody remembers what the score was.

Categories
Artists Dance Goals Training for success

You can take it with you

Well-designed monuments, theaters and marketplaces have lasted thousands of years. Ancient Roman architects created structures to withstand nature and time.

As we embark the next year, the memories of the last year will start to fade away.

The one thing that we can take with us, always, is our technique. We can build technique that withstands nature and time, with persistent practice and attention to every detail. The pros still stand at the barre daily, trying to perfect their tendus.

Categories
Artists Dance Educators Goals Training for success

Who are you?

If you are a student in a dance class or audition (remember those?) that is difficult and the challenge makes you uncomfortable, what do you do?

Do you decide that it’s too hard so you won’t bother to try to struggle through to accomplish something new and surprise yourself?

Do you believe your teacher when they confidently tell you that you fit, that you are doing well, that you’ll get it if you stay focused and train?

Do you believe your teacher when they tell you that you aren’t quite at that level, but if you dedicate yourself to training you can get closer to where you want to be? Do you accept the level you are placed in?

Do you decide that you don’t really like this style anyway so you’re going to slack off and resist taking corrections because why bother?

When the choreography is challenging, do you do the extra work to rise up to the level of the material you are given, or do you settle for not really mastering it?

Are you teachable? Trainable? Do you remember the corrections that you got last time and apply them?

If you are a teacher, I bet you can think of students that relate to all of these questions. If you are a student (we are all students, really), it’s important to reflect on this and see where you can do better.

Categories
Artists creating motivation

Pick up the pieces

There’s something you used to be really good at. You practiced all the time and you made the time to practice.

Other stuff took you away from practicing your craft so much. School, work, family, life in general, or sometimes there’s a global crisis.

Maybe it’s been years and you’ve convinced yourself that you lost it, that you used to be good, it’s all in the past and that’s that.

Go find it again. It’s still there. You may need to dust it off, clean off the rust and start from the beginning. Pick it back up, one small piece at a time.

Categories
Artists Dance Goals motivation Training for success

What if it’s too easy

Advanced dancers know how to work in any level class. If the material is simpler, they will work on emotional texture, refining their lines, sustaining movements a little longer. They’ll change a shuffle to riffle, a heel to a toe, try different stylizations with each repetition of the combination. They will make the class their own.

Less advanced dancers in the same situation will say the class is too easy, that they already know this, then proceed to not give their full effort because the class is below their ability level.

Smart dancers will ask for ways they can challenge themselves more if they need some guidance. They may respectfully ask if they can try the class that is a level higher in addition to the class they are placed in. Maybe the teacher isn’t seeing all they are capable of, or maybe the dancer takes the extra classes and works up to the level they desire to be dancing at.

Dancers who get it will show up, be present, ask specific questions and enjoy the process.

Categories
Artists Business Dance motivation productivity Technology

Pivot, step, walk, walk, walk

One very easy thing to do right now is to worry and ask ‘what if’.

What if I lose my business? What if my job, as I know it, is no longer? What if I have to change my life around completely? Now what?

Worrying takes a lot of energy and accomplishes nothing (we all will still spend some time worrying). We could also wait for things to get back to normal. Waiting is also not a good use of time.

As unideal as it is, it’s important to continue doing the work.

Not everything needs to change.

  • I’m still teaching my classes but they are pre-recorded.
  • I’m still teaching my classes but they are live-streamed.
  • I’m still planning classes for each level I teach, but now I’ve taken the time to separate the levels into different notebooks.

What’s next for me? An online monthly membership for people who want to continue tap dancing at home, or learn from the beginning. Stay tuned!

With slogs come new ideas, or time to develop the unrealized ideas and goals buried inside us collecting dust.

We can worry and wait and rant and let the challenge swallow us, or if we’re talking business-speak, we can nimbly pivot. As dancers, we’re slightly more talented and we can “Pivot, step, walk, walk, walk.