At one point or another as a dancer, you find yourself at a crossroads where the continuation of old habits seems mundane, and are unsure as to how to go about stretching your own boundaries to improve. But sometimes, the most counter-intuitive, roundabout, contradictory things end up making the most sense. Regardless of what your struggle is, here are a few counter-intuitive ironies to help you through this dancer crossroads you're at...
Analogous to the whole ‘in order to move forward sometimes you have to take a few steps back’ theory, taking a moment to “revert” back to beginners classes can help strengthen your foundation.
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There is a different aura, a different playing field, a different perspective beginners classes can offer you.
Amidst all the fast advanced choreo you’ve probably been exposed to, taking a beginners class will help you out with two things: appreciating how much foundation you’ve built already, and figuring out the breakdown of moves you would’ve otherwise auto-piloted.
And once you break something down into manageable components, you are better able to understand it.
This brings me to…
One of the more unsettling paradoxes of being a dancer, a student, a human - the more you learn (or in our case, take classes to improve), the more you realize there is much to be improved upon.
I know this hardly sounds reassuring, but in class you are exposed to dancers of different backgrounds, skill sets and talents, which inevitably motivates you.
Know that we are as boundless as we decide to be.
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Stepping away from the physical movement of dance to mentally think through the moves and the intention behind the movement can really help you break through any barriers you may have had with the choreography.
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Over-thinking is counter-productive.
In class for example, no one is actually focused on watching the nuances of the choreography when you first learn a piece - more often than not, dancers watch other dancers for performance.
By putting too much pressure on yourself to master each move, you're probably no longer having fun, and not having fun translates just as easily through movement as whether or not you know the choreography.
Get out of your mind (who knew Lil Jon could be quoted in this instance?) and live in the moment of the groove!
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Perhaps it's the expansion of the mind to new ideas. Or perhaps it's the fact that you are taking a step back from the style you really want to master.
But if you aren't where you want to be within a certain style of dance, sometimes it behooves you to stretch your mind with another style of dance, and get back to the one you wanted to improve on later.
Through this you might develop a new method of approach with your training to help you master that style, or if not ... well, you challenged yourself regardless, and any challenges you undergo are never a bad thing.
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The value in counter-intuitive advice lies in the fact that going against the grain can ironically help you find your way. Your mind has the power to make you feel dejected; conversely, your mind also has the power to make you feel empowered. Going against the grain inevitably opens up your mind to a different approach and way of thinking, which, for all you know, could be the very catalyst to help you breakthrough this rut you're in. Know that crossroads are meant to be temporary.
The less emphasis you place on the significance of this crossroads, the easier it will be to overcome it.Good luck, and truck on!Think of any additional pieces of counter-intuitive advice you've gotten or can contribute? Feel free to share in a comment below!You can practice these counter-intuitive concepts in a class on STEEZY Studio today!This article has been updated! It was originally posted on August of 2014.