“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass…it’s about learning how to dance in the rain!” – Vivian Greene
At some time or another every ballroom dancer gets stuck in a dance rut. In my experience this happens right before a big break through. The road is the hardest right at the peak. However, this knowledge does not help to make the ol’ dance rut any less painful or frustrating. So here’s 7 tips of what you can do to combat this inevitable stick in your dance spokes. Also known as Ninja Warrior Dance Conditioning.
- Are you eating and sleeping well? Eating a balanced diet and getting enough sleep is imperative to performing any physical activity well. Are you eating the right combination of proteins and carbs to sustain the level of energy you are expending? To much or too little calories will hinder any athletes ability. Also take a look at your sleep habits. Are you stretching yourself too thin? What are your priorities and are they really coming first? A rested and well fueled body will be much more willing to cooperate with your list of demands in dance class.
- Give yourself a break! We are our own worst critic. And the tapes that we have repeating in our minds that tell us that we’re not good enough are way worse than what anyone else is thinking. Motivation is a great thing, but when it starts to turn into berating yourself for your heel turns or getting down on yourself for forgetting to hold your frame we need to take a step back. Take a moment, take a few deep, mindful breaths and re-approach the issue.
- Watch Old Videos of Yourself. This one always does it for me. Depending on how old the video is sometimes I cringe, but it still does the trick. Having a visual to see how far you’ve come is super helpful. No one realizes their dance progress until they are reminded of what their dancing used to look like or feel like. Get into a habit of recording your open routines or showcases so you always have these milestones to look back on.
- Just MOVE! Sometimes, you just need to get out on the floor and sweat it out. Try to put your whole self into the movement, stretch as stride as much as you can, maybe even past where you think you can. Not only is this a great way to relieve stress and frustration but it’s an amazing way to reach new heights in your ability.
- Simplify, Simplify, Simplify. There’s a reason your coach always has you try out new technique on your basic. If you’re struggling or just not feeling it, bring it back to basics. Footwork, hip movement, frame, arm styling the list goes on. If you’re having a hard time getting your arms and feet to coordinate and do what they’re told, the less you have to overthink the better.
- Sit and Watch. Take a few minutes before and after your lessons and watch other couples. What are they doing well that you struggle with? What are they doing that you can see isn’t working for them? How can you imagine applying those changes to your own dancing? Visualizing what you want you dancing to look like can be very helpful. You might even ask your instructor to take a few minutes out of your lesson to show you what certain movements are supposed to look like.
- Remember Why You Dance. Did you start dancing for fun or relaxation? Maybe to get in shape or meet some new friends. Keep in mind that dancing is a process for everybody, including the professionals. It wouldn’t be so cool if it was easy for everyone. The harder you work for it, the more it will mean to you when you get it. So get out there and practice your heart out, enjoy every moment of it and remember that dancing in the rain is still dancing. And every breath and every drop of sweat is part of your own beautiful journey.