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Being A Competitive Dancer Taught Me These 6 Things

I may not dance anymore, but the lessons I learned from it will always be with me.

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Being A Competitive Dancer Taught Me These 6 Things
Rachel Grantham

I grew up dancing. I dedicated 13 years of my life to the sport and five-ish of those years were dedicated to competitive dance. I love it and still do to this day. Ask my little sister and she'll tell you that I'm constantly throwing in my input for song ideas and for choreography concepts. She'll also tell you that I love to give out critiques (sorry sis). I learned a lot throughout my years of dance and a lot of the things I learned still have influence in my life today.

1. Being A Good Sport

In the world of dance, you often compete against your friends and team members. It can be difficult to be happy for someone who beat you and it can be difficult to not gloat when you do better than your teammates. But in order to avoid drama among a group of girls, you have to learn to be supportive when you lose and be humble when you win.

2. Quick Changes

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Inevitably, at every single competition, the schedule requires us to change costume, hair, and makeup in 3 numbers (roughly 9 minutes). I learned how to get ready so fast and I'm proud to say I've retained that skill. Just that last week I woke up at 7:46 for my 8 am class and was only 3 minutes late. And I showed up in relatively cute clothes, mascara on, eyebrows filled, and hair done. It is 100% one of the most used skills I learned from dance.

3. How To Take Criticism

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After every competition, each studio gets a recording of the critiques from the judges. Some of them are full of praise and others not so much. Some of them have pleasant tones and some of them don't. You have to learn how to take the criticism and apply it regardless of tone or intention behind the critique. At the end of the day, your goal is to be better, so every second that someone else takes to tell you how to do that, is valuable.

4. Planning

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Ask anyone in my life, and they'll tell you that I am a planner. I attribute this to my time spent prepping for dance competitions. It takes skill to pack and plan for just the dance portion of any dance competition weekend much less all the fun stuff we plan to do while we're there. But I also learned how to plan for time to go shopping or grab food between dances. It's truly an art to be able to shop, eat, and be on time/ready for all 7+ dances in just one weekend.

5. Balance

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Not only did dance teach me how to balance school, family, friends, and a rigorous practice schedule; it taught me how to physically balance. I honestly don't know the last time I tripped and actually fell down because of it. When you're dancing, sometimes you misstep and you have to stay standing (especially on stage). Just a few weeks ago I tripped going down the stairs at a football game and managed to somehow not fall down, but also keep going down the stairs.

6. Self Confidence

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More than anything else, being a competitive dancer taught me how to believe in myself. No matter what failures I went through, dance taught me how to keep my head up. In the competitive dance world, you don't have time to dwell on the fact that you messed up that step, because the next one is coming. You can't get upset when you get off stage and know you could've performed better because you have another dance to get ready for. I was forced to learn how to let go of the failures and keep up my confidence.

Dance has taught me things other than just "how to dance." I will always be grateful for the sport itself and for the people who helped me learn these lessons along the way. I can honestly say that I would not be the person I am today without dance and without my teachers.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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