The care and keeping of good dance habits

The goal is for habits to become routine đź’«

Do your daily habits help you reach your dance goals? After my time on this earth as a human, I’ve accumulated plenty of habits. Some of my habits have helped me to thrive while others have evolved to protect me and end up holding me back. And the real kicker is some habits can do both! Oh what fun to reflect on which is which within the context of life!

For me, the path to this awareness for myself in keeping track of my habits. When I pay attention to which habits I bring into my life regularly, I can make better choices of which practices I want to hold on to and which to avoid.

Keeping track of your daily habits is as simple as writing it down. You may find a journal method works best for you, or maybe even a digital app. If you are new to tracking habits, I made a simple worksheet you can use to start paying attention two how your lifestyle can support your dance goals.

Head on over to my ko-fi shop to snag your free download. The download comes with a pre-filled version to get you started and also a blank one to make a full habit list of your own.

So tell me dancers, which daily habits are you going to keep track of?

Good Habits for Dancers

I believe every human is a dancer just as they are. If you want to build a solid foundation of physical and mental support for yourself as a professional dance career, however, it can mean a lot of training and practice. Developing consistent good habits is vital. 

But what are good habits for dancers?

Your habits will ideally reflect your goals as a dancer. If you have not thought about your dance goals in a while, now is a great time. (You can use this goal-setting worksheet)

Once you have an idea of your goals, you’ll know which habits can help you get there. To help you with more brainstorming, I’ve started a list of dance-related habits to get you started. 

  • Journaling
  • Practice Technique
  • Stretching
  • Conditioning
  • Drink Water
  • Eat Healthily

Did I miss anything? Let me know what habits you would add to your list. 

If you’d like, I’ve created a simple habit tracker and made it available as a pay-what-you-want download in my ko-fi shop.

Reflecting on your Dance Practice

Dancing is just as much of a mental sport as it is a physical one. It takes courage and confidence for anyone to attempt a step first, and self-doubt is a common enemy for many. This doubt usually comes from my feeling that my dancing might not fit in with professional expectations. One practice I use to combat this perpetual self-doubt is reflexivity.

Reflexivity refers to a process of reexamination of norms. While there may be cultural norms in the dance world, we are all individual dancers.  The benefit of incorporating regular reflection into your dance practice is that you can notice and understand which thoughts stories may be holding you back from dancing confidently. When I am consistent with my reflecting practice, I feel much more accepting of myself as a unique dancer and more respectful of the history and tradition we are all a part of, even in our uniqueness.

Planning and journaling are two of the simplest ways to practice reflexivity. You’ll just need a place to put your thoughts. Your reflection space may be a blank notebook, digital notepad, post-its, or whatever media you desire for your archive. There are also many options from dancers like myself who design custom journals and tools for tracking and reflecting on your dance practice. You may need to try a few different journaling styles before you find what works for you (which is just another chance to reflect)! I use a combination of written logs and journaling and bring a lot of reflexivity into my blogging.

Every dancer has their own unique body and soul, and a reflexive approach to dancing allows you to be fluid in developing your dance skills to your personal needs. As an anthropologist, I think it is essential for the people experiencing cultural moments to reflect on them. Your journals and dance logs will become part of the collective memory of dance. There are only so many ways we can preserve dance for the future, and leaving an archive of reflections is one of them.

Dance Reflection Resources

I practice journaling and reflection regularly as a part of my dance practice. I’ve found that I feel more connected to myself as a dancer when I check-in on my goals and experiences.

If you’d like to start your own dance diary journey, I’ve made my Diary pages available in my Ko-Fi shop.

Dance With a Dragon

She earned her degrees and stuck them on the wall next to the vision board that perfectly modeled the flatness of her life so far.

If only she could pull that board off the wall and wrap it around her life. A bit of warm comfort to feel in the moment before setting out on the next journey. She thought how lovely it would be to live inside the vision board instead of simply looking at it.

“Silly girl, who said you can’t?”

Who said that?! She looked around. Such a positive voice came as a shock in her life of perpetual denial.

Where did it come from?

A small but cacophonous rattling shook the dollhouse behind her, and the tiniest of dragons tumbled out onto the floor.

“Oofah, silly girl, you’re in it already,” the wee dragon assured, “It’s all in the dance. You just haven’t felt it yet.”

He stretched his wings into a frame, and they danced away into her new magical reality, leaving the flatness of her old life to fade on the wall.

Designing Better Dance Experiences

Dancers are constantly designing experiences for our audiences. From choreography to costumes to the classroom, each unique experience is worth assessment. Although I would love to tell you there is one ideal way to run a studio or design a course, that is just not the case. The key to creating good dance experiences is learning how to evaluate them from your students’ perspectives.

I have gotten so much good from my dance classes, but I have also had negative experiences. And it’s not just myself. The other day, I was in a ballet class where the teacher asked about our dance experience. Many students told stories of studios they had danced at for years but chose to leave because of one too many bad experiences. 

It is impossible to please everyone, but students may not stick around if you consistently ignore their needs. Good experiences create loyal dancers who will promote your classes to others. Likewise, a negative experience means you now have a dancer who not only will not come back to you, but they will not recommend you either. For digital experiences, this is even more important because you are now competing with a global dance market.

Good experiences create loyal dancers who will promote your classes to others.

How do you know if your online class provided a good experience for your students?

As I said earlier, learning how to evaluate your programs from a user-centric perspective is essential to providing them with better online experiences. There are a few ways you can ask your students about their experiences with your programs. You can utilize survey research, focus groups, and even test prototypes with potential students to gather feedback. I will be discussing these methods in-depth in an upcoming series of posts on evaluation, but for now, I just wanted to introduce them quickly.

Survey Research is one of the easiest ways to gather general feedback from your online dance students. Survey research can help collect information such as what time to hold a class or charge per session.

Focus Groups provide an opportunity to gather more in-depth opinions and feedback from your dancers. Usually, a focus group discussion will focus on a specific problem or topic of discussion. User Testing is a method of observing and interviewing people while they are interacting with your program. This method provides users with the opportunity to assist in the design of your program, rather than you having to make all the decisions and hope they like it.

Getting Started with Online Dance Classes

Are you looking for something fun to do while you are stuck at home? Maybe you have always wanted to try a dance class but held yourself back. When it comes to dancing, there are many benefits for both body and mind. It is also terrifying for many to get to a physical class for the first time. Enter digital dance classes! There are so many unique dance classes online now, and it is the perfect time to try one!

What are the Benefits of Taking Dance Classes Online?

There are many benefits to taking dance classes, such as improved heart and lungs, weight management, and better coordination. These benefits also apply to online dance classes. Online courses also have additional perks, such as being more accessible for your schedule, and they often cost much less than in-person classes.

Where can I find Places to Dance Online?

There are many places you can look for online dance classes. Many dance studios offer courses through their website membership programs, but you can also find many dance lessons on YouTube or social media platforms for free or donation.

Many dancers have started to use live streaming options on Facebook and Instagram to share real-time connections with their students. Regardless of your level or budget, or whether you are looking for ballroom, ballet, or belly dance, there is likely an online dance class that will work for you.

Tips for Getting Started with Online Dance Classes

Before you choose an online dance class, double-check that the level is appropriate for your current skills. Suppose the instructor has scheduled the scheduled for a specific time. In that case, you should know which time zone they live in and whether or not you will need to show up early to log in. Do not hesitate to reach out to the instructor before the class and ask about anything you may be unsure of, such as required equipment.

Online dance classes are not the same as in-person experiences, but they are a good alternative in these trying times. There is no better time than now to learn a new healthy hobby, and online dance is guaranteed to be a fun one!

Dance Reflection Resources

I practice journaling and reflection regularly as a part of my dance practice. I’ve found that I feel more connected to myself as a dancer when I check-in on my goals and experiences.

If you’d like to start your own dance diary journey, I’ve made my Diary pages available in my Ko-Fi shop.

Foot Strengthen and Stretch Follow-Along

Step right on up for a follow-along foot workout for dancers. You can use this video to help improve your foot strength and flexibility for ballet, ballroom, or any form of dance. Remember, good foot lines come from a combination of strength and flexibility throughout the foot, ankle, and calf. Please consult your physician and dance coach before incorporating extra lessons and technique training into your practice.