The start of a new dance year is a wonderful time to lay down some sensible and creative resolutions to carry one through both the successful and stressful times ahead. This is not the same as setting out short, medium and long term goals, which is a must for every serious vocational dance student, but simply reflecting on some guidelines to help prevent injury and assist in making real improvement over the year. Resolutions should be tailored to each individual student and their own unique mentality and situation.
Here are a few examples which I hope will inspire our vocational students at The Dance Centre Peregian Springs, and could be altered to suit each student and dance genre.
I need to take responsibility for making sure I am punctual to class every time and with everything I need in my dance bag. Leaving this up to other people is just not professional. I can politely remind the people getting me to class how important timing is because if I miss the beginning, I miss the warm up and may injure myself badly by dancing with cold and poorly prepared muscles.
I will concentrate and focus only on myself and my teacher during every class and not be put off by what I think others may be doing, saying or thinking. This way my dance skills will steadily improve with my self-confidence.
I need to always protect my toes in pointe shoes and build up calluses so that my toes and feet won't rub raw and bleed, preventing me from working properly on pointe for several days.
I should always prepare a healthy snack to eat before a long day in the studio because if I haven't eaten all day I won't have enough strength or energy to perform properly in class and improve my all-important ballet technique skills.
I need to remember to always work my turn out from the hips every ballet class, as forcing turnout weakens my knees and ankles - leading to injuries and poor technique that will hold me back.
When I start competition or concert rehearsing, it is my responsibility to be in the studio well before rehearsals start and warm up thoroughly because without a proper warm up of all my muscles, I may be subject to soreness, stiffness and possible injury.
I will pay attention in every class that I am not pronating (rolling) my feet, as this leads to poor technique and injuries.
Whatever the occasion, I need to remember to have enough sleep on the nights before dance classes and rehearsals, as I will have a hard time concentrating on corrections and learning new steps if I am overtired and irritable.
Each class I must try to calm my mind, deliberately putting aside the worries of what could go wrong and focus on positive thoughts and on how to listen to and apply corrections. I will focus on improving something each class no matter how small.
I will have faith and confidence in myself every class
even on difficult days when everything feels like its going wrong.
If I make a mistake in a class, solo, group dance or competition, I will immediately forgive and forget myself so as not to make a complete mess of what follows. Completing the exercise, class or dance to the end and not giving up somewhere in the middle is pure professionalism.
Now, your turn...What will be your New Year's Resolution for your dance and your career in 2016?