Mirror Mirror on the wall, am I the best dancer of them all?
Dancing is such a fantastic activity that consists of so many components: technicality, choreography, charisma, mobility and flexibility etc. Every dancer tries to excel and strives to master all of them. However, dancing world would not exist without comparing ourselves to fellow dancers and performers. What are the hidden risks of doing that?
Just like in life, every dancer develops at their own pace. It’s impossible that two individual dancers will have have the same set of skills, strengths and weaknesses. The challenges that you face in your life and training are not the exact same ones as other competitors. Also, how fast you improve your dancing is totally individual.
The most amazing thing about dancing is that it has so many components. As a dancer, you have things that you’re good at. Maybe you’re very charismatic on a dance floor and playing with audience is just a piece of cake. Or you’re very technical and your footwork is to-die-for. Or your upper body is so strong that your frame cannot be shaken by anything.
Well, you need to decide if you want to spend your dancing life wishing you had what other dancers have, or instead, maximize on the strengths that are just in front of you! (whilst working on your weaknesses).
With your teacher, identify 5 elements of your dancing and grade them on a scale 1-10 with your level. For example:
b. connection with audience
c. arm styling
e. theatre / drama
Once you’ve done that you should capitalize on what you’re best at and make your dancing about that. However, if you’re relatively new to dancing, then perhaps gradually develop all until some of them start shooting off.
Just to give you a better idea, all my dancing life I tried to be fast and spin hundred miles an hour because everyone else around me did that. But instead I was slower and somehow less coordinated. I couldn’t turn well and match my competitors which kept bringing me down. Later on, I identified that I was good at shaping, creating long and powerful lines and I was very flexible. So I decided to focus on these qualities! Before I knew it, my dancing transformed, my style started developing and the results started coming. Why? Because I learnt what I was good at and maximized it. Of course, I continue working on my speed and spins. Now I don’t compare myself to others because if I do, it will take away from my progress and the dancer I am.
It would be stupid of me to say there should be no comparison in dancing. However, the sooner your realize that every dancer grows individually, both physically and mentally, the sooner you will tap into your dance potential. Yes, other dancers should challenge you, but only in a positive and inspiring way!
With the right mindset, capitalizing on your strengths, aim to become a unique dancer rather than just one of many!