Start 2018 feeling inspired! New Year resolutions are fun to make and lend optimism and enthusiasm for what the year might bring. Whether you want to lose weight, get fit, eat healthy, practice mindfulness, stress less or laugh more, dance is a great stepping stone towards your resolution success. Most people start out with an idea that they want to dance to feel more confident on the dance floor, to look good at social situations and to feel more adept at parties or weddings. Then they discover that dancing is awesome fun. The music and movement is uplifting and a mood booster, physically, mentally and emotionally. The pounds seem to shed themselves, the body starts getting more toned and they like that they are starting to look and feel better. That's what we call the snowball effect of dance. January is a great time to make your dance resolution. It's the start of a new year, new aspirations, new things to try. So start making snowballs.
IF YOU ARE NEW TO DANCE
If you are tentatively checking out dance for the first time and reading this blog, good for you.
Perhaps you've always wanted to dance. Perhaps you want to push yourself out our your comfort zone and grow. You've take a step in the right direction. Here are a few tips on how to start dancing and stay dancing.
1. Find a reputable dance studio. Do a bit of research. Check out the reviews to get an idea of what others have experienced. Know what you want. Are you looking for a knowledgeable instructor or do you need someone with patience who will walk you though the paces? Or both.
3. Start small. You may have a grandiose plan of wanting to go full steam ahead and learn everything but it is best to start with a sizeable program and achievable goals. This is where a good instructor will work with you towards those goals. Keep having fun and you will keep at it.
4. Cut yourself some slack. It can seem a bit intimidating entering this big new world of dance where others seem to know what they are doing and doing it much better than you, to boot. Remember, everyone started at the same place you did. Focus on your personal achievement.
5. Practice. At home or in front of a mirror. This way when you come back for your next class your instructor won't have to waste time reviewing and can move on to newer more exciting steps.
HOW TO BECOME A BETTER DANCER
No matter what your level, dance has that magical way of opening new dimensions at surprising turns of your dance journey. Here are some resolutions that can help you take your dancing to the next level.
1. Stretch. We can't stress this enough. Make it a habit to get to class 10 - 15 mins earlier so that you can stretch. Not only will stretching make you more flexible, it will limber up your legs and increase your range of motion. And it will warm up your muscles so that you are ready to move more fluidly the minute your class begins.
2. Practice. Practice anywhere and everywhere. I practice my samba walks behind the shopping cart in the grocery lane (when I think no one is looking). The cart handle helps stabilize my upper body while I isolate my hips. The more you practice the more you give muscle memory a chance to kick in.
3. Work on your technique. Perfect your posture. Stand up straight, push your shoulders down and back, and hold your head up. Sternum up. Engage your scapulas.Take a technique class and work on it. Good technique is what separates good dancers from the rest.
4. Dance it out. Don't just do the steps, dance them. Feel the music with the movement. Smile and it automatically elevates your dance.
5. Perform. Doing a showcase, competition, or exhibition dance will take your dance to another level. Setting a goal will give you direction and pressure to work towards it. Dancing in front of an audience will help you overcome any self conscious feeling and allow you to focus on and enjoy the dance.
So make your resolutions and whether they're kept, or broken by mid January, it doesn't matter. Resolutions are important because:
They help set our sights on new possibilities
They help us recalibrate our lifestyle choices
They start us moving in those new directions
2018. Make it your dance year!