My initial goal was simple: to improve my dancing.
So I began my road to becoming a dancer by enrolling in as many classes as I could afford.
But then I hit a brick wall – or, more accurately, a question.
“Do I think I’m becoming better at this?” “Have I made any progress in the last three months?” “Have I made any progress in the last three months?” “How come this is still so difficult for me?”
The good news was that I was headed in the right direction. Even if it didn’t seem that way at the time.
And I’m sure you’ve had similar experiences.
So, first and foremost, bear the following in mind:
The fact that you’re starting to evaluate your success (and even feeling frustrated) shows that you’re trying. That’s fantastic!
Now let’s talk about some helpful and good strategies to keep track of your dance progress.
1. SET CLEAR AND ATTAINABLE OBJECTIVES
We’ll have to take a step back in order to go forward.
Did you set any clear and attainable goals when you started?
There’s no need to be concerned if this isn’t the case. We can take care of that right now! It’s never too late to make a change.
So, how does one set a clear, attainable goal?
Let’s take the (poor) example of “I want to be the BEST dancer.”
This assertion is not clear nor feasible.
Who determines who is “the best,” and what does “the greatest” really imply?
In addition, the word “best” connotes excellence. In any art form, perfection is impossible.
You have the potential to be excellent. You have the potential to be fantastic! Trying to be perfect, on the other hand, can only lead to frustration.
“I want to audition for a dance team in six months,” for example, may be a clear, attainable objective.
That sentence isn’t unclear, and you have complete power over whether or not you carry it out.
2. COLLECT HARD, COLD EVIDENCE
It can be difficult to assess your success as a dancer because it is subjective, but you can track your progress just like you would anything else.
You can see, feel, and investigate the physical evidence.
As a result, think of video as your new best buddy.
You can record yourself in the early phases of learning right at home. There is no obligation to publish it. Simply utilise it as a learning tool.
Keep an eye out for tight motions, hurrying, or instances when you lose confidence or dance small.
Then, when you’ve identified an area where you want to improve, make an effort to get in front of a mirror, go over your routine again, and concentrate on that one area.
Make a playlist of songs to which you’ve learned choreography. Every time I take a class, I add to my Spotify playlist.
If you set a goal like “learn a new routine every two weeks,” you’ll be able to easily track how much you’ve actually learned over time.
This will also help you remember what you’ve learnt so you may attempt it again later!
When you’re continually learning new choreography, it’s easy to lose sight of how far you’ve progressed because you’re choosing pieces that are designed to push you beyond your current level.
When you have more training under your belt, it’s great to go back to that exciting beginner routine!
You’ll be able to re-film the routine to see how far you’ve progressed.
3. TEST YOUR BOUNDARIES ACTIVELY
You’ll never improve as a dancer if you don’t push yourself to learn new techniques and routines.
You’ll have to get out of your comfort zone if you want to track your progress and actually notice growth.
I convinced myself for months that I couldn’t take Heels lessons.
But once I gave Heels a chance, I fell in love with them and decided to make them a regular part of my weekly workout routine.
Stepping outside of my comfort zone helped me break through a false barrier I had erected for myself, and once that barrier was broken, I witnessed development in my ability to balance, use my core, and execute spins in any dance style.
So take some lessons that are outside of your comfort zone and even a few advanced classes now and then. You’ll find that your body responds differently as time goes on.
4. RECORD EVERYTHING
While you’re gathering information, you’ll discover that you’ll need a location (or several places) to store it.
A phone can be used, but I recommend keeping a handwritten dancing notebook.
Spending time physically writing about your dancing experience can make the process feel more deliberate, and without the distractions of TikTok or Instagram luring you away from your notes app, you might discover some new insights about your development!
Each week, try to keep track of your challenges and victories.
Was your stamina a hindrance to you this week? Do you struggle with some aspects of musicality? Did your first Jazz Funk class make you feel insecure?
Write them down and look for trends so you can address them –– and keep an eye out for when those patterns start to fade (hello, growth!!!).
You’ll see patterns as you write down what made you feel amazing during a lesson.
You might discover that you’re a natural at floorwork and look forward to it –– in which case, you should attempt a floorwork-heavy style next!
You can even use a social media platform to capture your dance journey if you’re feeling really brave.
5. REQUEST A CRITIQUE
You’ll be your harshest critic, yet you’ll still overlook things now and then!
As a result, it’s critical to seek input and criticism from sources other than yourself.
There’s a reason why dance instructors are called instructors. They desire to educate and instruct.
Ask for input from a few reputable instructors you appreciate.
However, make sure you’re asking an instructor who has had the opportunity to observe your body in motion.
Keep in mind that the instructor whose class you attend several times a month is a better source than the instructor whose class you attend just once or twice a year.
Your dance buddies can also be a wealth of knowledge.
Even your non-dancer pals can tell you if you’re looking a little shaky during a particular section or if they prefer one face expression over another.
There’s no need to be fussy about asking someone to see you dance because it’s an art form meant to be shared, viewed, and appreciated by everybody.
Any kind of input can be beneficial.
I hope this information was useful to you in your dance journeys!
You’ve already cleared the most difficult obstacle. You’ve already decided to take on a new challenge.
Anything new necessitates trial and error as well as times of thought.
However, keep in mind that progress is measured in centimetres, not inches.
You may not be able to notice your improvement tomorrow, but those centimetres will add up to miles in a few months.
Learn more: Why Dancers Have Trouble Learning Your Choreography