Beginning Year Fears
October 20th, 2019 by Elizabeth Radabaugh
If you’re a dancer who has recently started a new class or has been placed in a higher level, you might be experiencing “beginning-of-the-year-fear”. It can be intimidating being around dancers who make it seem so easy. It can be even more frustrating when you have trouble remembering sequences. Your confidence can get deflated fast. Never fear! Here are some tips to help you identify exactly what you are afraid of and move past it.
Having Trouble With Technique?
If you’re having trouble in class, try identifying exactly what you’re struggling with. Are you having trouble executing the technique or sequences? If you are having trouble with your technique, remember, it takes time. You’ve been placed in this class because your teacher believes in you. It takes time to develop things like flexibility, turnout and balance. If you could do everything perfectly, then you would obviously not need to be in that class. Your technique can be vastly improved if you take the initiative to do things on your own. If you’ve got down time, try stretching, static strengthening or Thera Band exercises. Improving your technique takes time so, be patient.
Having Trouble Remembering Sequences?
If you find yourself struggling with remembering sequences, don’t panic, this can be honed like any skill. This takes time just like technique but, your “quick study” can be improved. Like any skill, the more you do it, the better you’ll become. Try to remember choreographic segments to start. Whichever way you like to segment pieces of choreography in your mind is perfectly fine. Organize choreography the way your brain works. Take things section by section. Find certain “check points” you remember best and work to get from point to point. Eventually, you will piece them together to make the phrase. And if you continue your dancing to a professional level, your quick study skills are imperative to auditions. Picking up choreography fast is necessary for professional dancers. So, keep honing those skills.
Perhaps, you still find yourself struggling in class. Are you sure you’re asking enough questions? If you need something repeated or explained further, there is nothing wrong with asking for help. All you need to do is raise your hand and ask. However, make sure you ask the right questions. Simply saying, “I don’t get it!”, does not help your teacher pin-point the problem. Try to identify exactly what you need help with before asking for help. Perhaps by asking your question, you’ll be helping another student in the class with that same question. Be proactive and raise your hand!
It was Henry Ford who once said, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t-you’re right”. It is your attitude in class that can determine your success. If you keep telling yourself that you can’t do something, the odds of you doing it are not good! Listening to that nagging voice inside your head can be damaging to your self-esteem as well. Remember, even the most famous dancers started somewhere, in some beginning class and have grown into what they are today.
For your “beginning-of-the-year-fears”, start by identifying your struggles, ask questions and stay positive! Things take time and try not to be too hard on yourself. Follow these steps and you’re sure the find success this year.
Marissa Staniec is a performer, choreographer, teacher and adjudicator for StarQuest with over 20 years of experience in the dance industry. She also hosts, writes and produces her own podcast on iTunes called “Beyond the Mirror: A Dancer’s Podcast”.