How To Make The Most Of Your Dance Classes

Dance class is an investment. A lot of money, time, and energy goes into learning how to dance. The last thing you want is for any of that to go to waste by not making the most of every dance class.

You might think that the best dancers become successful by stretching longer, sweating harder, or practicing more than everyone else but that’s not the whole story. If you really want to benefit from your time training in dance, start with your mental attitude toward learning. Here’s how:

 

Take responsibility

Learning anything is on you, friend. Dance teachers just navigate (and occasionally cheerlead) your dance journey. It’s your job to fuel and drive the car.

 

Photo by Ed Schipul is licensed CC BY 2.0

tango and curves by Ed Schipul is licensed CC BY 2.0

 

What are some ways to do that and take responsibility for learning in dance class?

  • Arrive early
  • Come prepared
  • Practice proper dance class etiquette
  • Stay focused
  • Take and apply corrections and direction
  • Ask and listen to questions and really absorb the answers
  • Take notes
  • Think ahead
  • Spend more time on the things that need work than the things that don’t
  • Be eager to revisit the basics
  • Listen to your body and keep it in top form with cross-training or conditioning
  • Develop professional relationships with your teachers and mentors
  • Find great teachers you can trust and then actually put your faith in their methods

 

Make mistakes

Dance class is THE place to mess up because the stage is the last place you’ll want to. Give yourself permission to try big and fail hard in dance and in life.

 

Photo by Ed Schipul is licensed CC BY 2.0

Freneticore The Sacred Harp by Ed Schipul is licensed CC BY 2.0

 

Discover something new

Notice we didn’t say you should wait to be hit over the head with or bowled over by new information. Make each dance class a quest to learn something new– even about the same old stuff– through listening, watching, trial, or error.

 

Freneticore at Bayou City Arts Fest by Ed Schipul is licensed CC BY 2.0

 

Feel uncomfortable

Your best growth often happens outside your comfort zone. If dance class feels too easy, it’s not always about class level. Are you pushing and stretching yourself in all of the above ways? If not, maybe class seems effortless because you’re not making an effort to push beyond your limitations.

 

seen, because you can, dance, because you love by Ed Schipul is licensed CC BY 2.0

seen, because you can, dance, because you love by Ed Schipul is licensed CC BY 2.0

 

Enjoy the process

Achievement and accolades in dance are awesome but the celebration lasts a blip before you realize that when it’s over, there’s just something new to accomplish. Dance training includes periods of growth and periods of plateau. Make that process the fun part of dance class and you’re golden.

 

Houston Uptown Dance Company by Ed Schipul is licensed CC BY 2.0

Houston Uptown Dance Company by Ed Schipul is licensed CC BY 2.0

 

Give thanks

Do celebrate those accomplishments and your dancing body. Be grateful that you get to enjoy the benefits of dance and appreciate the people helping you and motivating you to get the most out of every dance class.

 

tendering at freneticore theater by Ed Schipul is licensed CC BY 2.0

tenderina at freneticore theater by Ed Schipul is licensed CC BY 2.0

 

 

Thanks, Ed Schipul for making your beautiful photographs of Houston dancers available via CC.

Nichelle (owner/editor)
Nichelle Suzanne is a writer specializing in dance and online content. She is also a dance instructor with over 20 years experience teaching in dance studios, community programs, and colleges. She began Dance Advantage in 2008, equipped with a passion for movement education and an intuitive sense that a blog could bring dancers together. As a Houston-based dance writer, Nichelle covers dance performance for Dance Source Houston, Arts+Culture Texas, and other publications. She is a leader in social media within the dance community and has presented on blogging for dance organizations, including Dance/USA. Nichelle provides web consulting and writing services for dancers, dance schools and studios, and those beyond the dance world.
Nichelle (owner/editor)
Nichelle (owner/editor)
Nichelle (owner/editor)

Comments

  1. Jocelyn says:

    Thanks again Nichelle for some wonderful advice! I am very conscious of investing a lot in my dance classes and when I am there I really try hard to make the most of every minute of every class. You can learn something new and imporatant about even the most elementary things if you take notice and really challenge yourself to do your very best each and every time. If you are not doing this you may as well just be in the queue for the bus! It really takes a lot of mental effort to be present and focused in every class but that is what we dancers excell at! That doesn’t mean we can’t have fun while we are doing it!

  2. Beautiful, Nichelle, so perfectly written. I feel like you are speaking directly to me – and to all of my students.

    The last note is the best: Give thanks. Appreciate what your body can do today. Don’t fret about what it did yesterday. Or five years ago. Enjoy that you are in the studio at this moment and nowhere else. I cherish every class I take and every class I teach and as both a student and a teacher, I look to find something beautiful in ballet every day.

    ~Leigh

  3. Thanks Jocelyn and Leigh. I appreciate all the love on this article.

  4. I am inspired. Thanks for taking your precious time to write such an article. As you have put it, ” take responsibility.” This makes all the difference, we should embrace personal responsibility and accept the fact that its one’s attitude and approach to learning that determines whether we grow or remain dormant. Many thanks again

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