As the freshness of the New Year and all the resolutions we made leading up to January are now nearly three months old, it may be time for some new inspiration. Here, Dance Informa helps with a list of ideas to keep you motivated in the months ahead.
#1. Create a vision board.
A vision board is a visual representation of your dreams and ambitions – and it’s super fun to make. Collect photos, postcards, flyers, pictures from magazines – whatever inspires you – and make a colourful, creative collage. Put it somewhere you’ll see it every day, to remind you why you are working so hard, and to keep you going when it all feels like too much!
#2. Watch other dancers training and performing.
Going to dance performances can be wonderful for motivation, but you can also be inspired by dancers closer to home. Watch older students at your school, and see what you can learn from them. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions about their training, aspirations and motivations.
#3. Set challenges.
On the road to your big goals, set yourself little challenges to motivate and excite you. They can be anything you like: doing 10 minutes of yoga every day before school, adding three more rises each day in class for a week, or eating an extra serving of vegetables every day for a month. Make a note of how you feel before, during, and especially after, when you achieve your challenge!
#4. Review your goals.
It’s over eight weeks since you set your goals for 2016. Revisit them, and ask yourself how realistic they were. Are you on track to achieve them? Do you need to modify them? Maybe you’ve achieved some already and it’s time to set new ones!
#5. Keep a journal.
It’s easy to lose track of what you’ve achieved and what you want to work on, so write it down. Make a few notes every night about what went well in class that day, what corrections you got and what you need to work on.
#6. Notice how far you’ve come.
Sometimes it can feel like you’re not getting anywhere, not making any progress. Take a look back at where you were a year ago and ask yourself if that’s really true. You’ll be amazed and delighted at how much you’ve achieved and grown in a short time.
#7. Acknowledge your successes.
You don’t have to win trophies to be a success. Celebrate your little wins every day, because they are more significant than you might think. Did you hold your balance for an extra second in class? Pass your pre-pointe assessment? Acknowledge and reward yourself – even if it’s just with a gold star in your journal.
#8. Have a competition with a friend.
Healthy, friendly competition is one of the best motivators. Even if it’s just for five minutes after class, try challenging a friend who is the same level as you. Who can hold a plank the longest, do the most crunches or hold an arabesque longer? Remember to maintain correct, safe technique at all times, and also to encourage, support and cheer each other on. The idea is to help each other improve and to make each other feel great about personal achievements.
#9. Search for videos of your favourite performers.
We are so lucky today to have access to the amazing resource of the internet – where you can see performances by some of the most incredible dancers from all over the world throughout history. Start with your favourite YouTube video and see where it can take you. Love Marianela Nunez dancing Odette? Discover what other ballerinas have performed this role, and note what the differences are in their interpretations. Which ones do you like best and why? What other ballets have they performed?
#10. Offer to assist classes.
Giving can be the most rewarding way to spend your time, and knowing that you are inspiring younger dancers can give you even more motivation to keep working toward your goals. Why not volunteer your time to assist your teacher with the little ones? They’ll love having a “big girl” to look up to, and as an extra bonus, you’ll start to get some teaching experience, which will be so valuable throughout your dance career.
By Rain Francis of Dance Informa.
Photo (top): An example of a dance vision board. Photo courtesy of Rain Francis.