Summer is nearing to an end, and that means your new dance year is starting! You’re probably feeling a mix of excitement, anticipation, maybe some nerves, and all of those feelings are completely normal. To ease you into the coming dance year, we’re here with eight tidbits of back-to-dance advice. So read on and get excited for all that is to come!
#1. Stock up!
Whether or not you’ve been dancing all summer, it’s best to start off the new dance year fresh. Be sure to stock up on the dance essentials – leotards, new tights with no runs or holes, and clean, properly fitting dance shoes. We love the stylish leotards and activewear from Energetiks, Capezio Australia is well known for its quality footwear, and Eurotard has a fantastic selection of tights and dance undergarments.
In addition to re-stocking your dance drawer, get rid of hairspray that’s clogged, hair nets that are ripped, and bobby pins and elastics that are all stretched out. Don’t forget the little (but important) things, too – band-aids for potential blisters, Tiger Balm or Arnica for achy spots, ice packs for sore muscles, Epsom salts for baths, and goodies like exercise bands, tennis balls and a foam roller. Your body will thank you later this year!
#2. Make a resolution.
Yes, it’s only February and you may have made a New Year’s resolution just a couple of weeks ago, but why not make one (or three!) specifically for your dance goals as you embark on a new dance year?
Maybe you’d love to nail that triple pirouette to the left, or get an inch higher extension in your développé à la seconde, or build the stamina to do the petit allegro combination three times in a row! The beginning of the dance year is a great time to set these kinds of goals. Maybe even get a dance journal and jot them down. Then note your progress throughout the year and see how far you’ve come in a few months.
#3. Master your bun or updo.
If your parents still do your dance hair every day, they will very much appreciate if you learn to make your own ballet bun, French twist or other dance ‘do. It may take a few attempts, but it’s definitely a skill you’ll need later in life, so why not master it now? Whether by trial-and-error, a little YouTube coaching from someone like Kathryn Morgan or the use of a Bun Builder, you can make sure you enter the new dance year with this skill in your toolbox so your parents have one less thing to worry about.
#4. Get inspired.
What better way to begin a new dance year than by feeling inspired? Before you head back to class, maybe pick up a dance-related book, such as Misty Copeland’s memoir, Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina. Or watch a dance movie. The classic Center Stagenever gets old! Or go see a live performance. There is so much dance happening in Australia! Or listen to lots of music. Maybe discover a new band, or improv in your bedroom with your music on shuffle. Whatever you do, having that extra bit of inspiration will certainly get your feet and heart moving once you get into the studio.
#5. Be a fashion icon.
Why be like the rest of the crowd when you can stand out? Rather than bea trend, you can starta trend. When shopping for dancewear, look for items that make you feel and look great, and get creative in piecing things together. It’s good practice for dressing for auditions as well! Check out the unique, fashionable and limited Aria collection from Energetiks for some really fun and vibrant dancewear.
#6. Say your “thank you”s.
Thank your parents for all they do to support you and your dance passion through the years. Dance tuition can be expensive, dance shopping isn’t free, and neither is gas to get you to and from the studio. A little “thank you” goes a long way, and your parents will appreciate the acknowledgement you give them. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to thank those dance teachers who pour their heart and soul into making you a better dancer.
#7. Ease into it (And be prepared to be sore…).
Starting the new dance year may mean a loaded schedule full of dance classes, schoolwork and other activities. You don’t want to overdo it on just the first week or two back! Ease into your schedule and its demands, especially if you’re coming back from a summer vacation or break. You may be sore after your first couple weeks back, so be kind to your body. This is where the Arnica, ice packs, Epsom salts and foam rollers come in handy!
#8. Don’t forget: You’re a dancer! That’s special!
Remind yourself why you dance. Maybe you want to be a professional, join your dream company or be in a Broadway show someday. Perhaps you simply love the feeling you get when you dance and express yourself. It could be that it’s your favorite form of exercise, or that your best friends ever bonded through dance. You are a dancer, and that is cool! This little reminder will come in handy as you begin your year, or if you ever feel tired and need a little pick-me-up.
And if anyone ever questions why you spend so much time at dance, or if your parents need a little reminder why you seem to spend more time at the studio than at home, tell them all the fantastic skills you’ve acquired just by being a dancer. You know some French (plié, grand jeté, anyone?). You’re probably more flexible than anyone in your math class. You’re smart and used to picking up choreography quickly. You’ve got rhythm and know how to use it. And you’ve got a serious dose of motivation and good work ethic. You know what it means to have a passion. You’re a dancer, and that’s cool!
And now, enjoy going back to dance!
By Laura Di Orio of Dance Informa.