New Year’s Eve is tomorrow and I’m currently on vacation so I probably will be too busy celebrating to make this post tomorrow. I’m currently in a hotel with limited access to internet so I’ll be making this post from my phone…I’ll try to make as few spelling errors as possible but in the event that there are some, I apologize in advance.
In less than 48-hours we’ll be kissing 2016 goodbye and welcoming 2017 with open arms. If I had to sum up the year I’ve had as a dancer with one word it would be awareness. I was made aware of quite a few aspects of my life as a dancer, some good and some bad. I think the biggest thing I learned this year is that dancing is much more subjective and internal than I had ever thought. What I mean by that is that for so long I thought that objectively, I wasn’t good enough to have any professional success, I wasn’t always cast in shows and I had a couple of choreographers and teachers treat me (for one reason or another) as though I was the weak link when I was in pieces. But this year I signed an apprentice contract with a company and got to perform in a piece. This taught me primarily that dance isn’t cut and dried and that what works for one person may not work for another person and vice versa. As an addendum to that, I’ve also learned that because no matter where you go you may or may not be accepted as a dancer and because you might be one choreographer/director’s cup of tea and not another’s, your feelings of whether or not you are good enough need to come from you. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t still audition to see where you are or if you’re at a school/studio/conservatory take criticisms, notes and juries seriously. But in addition to applying those notes as necessary, you truly have to own and walk in whatever place you are in your journey and know that you’re doing all that is in your power to be the best dancer you can. This includes taking classes, applying corrections, and taking care of your body. If I had to say anything, I’d say this year has tested and increased my maturity as a dancer.
But I’m still not perfect….
I still have some issues to work out regarding my approach to training, and there are some areas I’d like to improve in both technically and professionally. So my goals(resolutions) for 2017 are…
- Be on time to class consistently ( I was getting better at this near the end of this year so I’d like to keep the momentum going). Because…professionalism.
- Start taking yoga. Shortly before I graduated from college, one of my teachers told me that yoga would help with my feet, my flexibility and inversions. I’d like to see if he’s right–plus it would be a nice way to decompress between classes and rehearsals.
- Get back to taking tap and hip hop. Fun fact–for most of the first half of my dance career I only did tap and hip hop. Tap is still undeniably my strength but other commitments have gotten in the way of me taking it. I don’t want to lose my technique so this is definitely a priority. When it comes to hip hop, I always thought it was fun but lost my confidence when I didn’t get the affirmations I was looking for from my teachers. Since college, my hip hop training has been pretty spotty but I think it taps (haha) into a part of me that I don’t necessarily get to express in other genres so I want to try to get it back on my body.
- Be more intentional. This is a goal for me in other areas not limited to dance. But in terms of dance I want to be more intentional in my training and my movement. This means having a set class schedule and body care regime and being more precise in my execution of movements. Basically making sure that I am always “on” in my work as a dancer. This might actually be a subset of one of my larger goals for next year which is to be more organized.
- Be more present and connect more with the people I dance with. This is hard because I never really had a group of “dance friends” and I learned to navigate the dance world largely on my own. But interacting and building connections with your fellow dancers has its benefits and it makes being in a company a thousand times more fun. It will take some time to knock down the walls I’ve built around myself, but there’s no time like the present to try!
- Take better care of my body. Working three jobs and dancing for a company undeniably takes a huge amount of energy. I’m positive that I would have more energy if I ate a bit better, got more sleep and pampered myself a little more. I’m already planning a sugar cleanse and to start meatless mondays again. I’ll keep you posted on any more dietary changes I want to try. That plus more sleep, yoga and continuing my weekly salt baths should keep me in decent shape.
What are your dance resolutions?