Ten Things Dance Has Taught Me
Start writing a post

Ten Things Dance Has Taught Me

Even as a hobby, dance has taught me a lot about life.

Ten Things Dance Has Taught Me

Here's a random tidbit about me: I used to be a dancer! My dancing skills are, arguably, decent. I've taken dance classes for as long as I can remember. Even though I'm not a dance major or I never did anything professional with dance, dancing is one of my favorite hobbies. Whether it's watching a performance or being part of one, I enjoy seeing and doing different styles of dancing. Sometimes I experiment different moves or styles in my spare time, and even create my own choreography for fun.

Dancing is a great way to not only express my creativity but also keep fit. As a person who often has trouble standing still and prefers to de-stress through rigorous but exciting activities, dancing is a perfect match for someone like me. Dancing is one of the few things that kept me sane throughout life. Even though my career choice has nothing to do with dance, I recently found out how much these years of taking dance classes and times learning different choreography really taught me about myself and life. Some of these lessons still help me to this day.

So, here are 10 things that dance has taught me.

1. Face all of your fears.

The one thing some people fear the most is the stage. Dance is no different. I still get jitters even after performing on stage many times. I can practice something countless of times and still have that unsettling fear of messing up. Part of dancing is to get rid of that fear to perform well. This can apply to jobs outside of dancing. Whether it's presentations to formal speeches, the only way to do something well is to set aside the nerves and just do it.

Fear goes beyond the stage. It also applies to doing new things. When I took dance classes, I had teachers who had different teaching styles and introduced choreography I was unfamiliar with. New things can be scary, even if it's not related to dance. When something unexpected or even different arrives, the best thing to do is to learn and adjust to it. If you continue to be afraid, you're not going to learn or grow, regardless of what that new thing is. It's possible that whatever you're afraid of will reveal another talent, interest, skill or even fact about yourself.

2. Know your limits, but also push them.

We all have physical and mental limits. It's possible to get yourself injured from pushing too hard, especially with dancing. Dancing has taught me to know a lot about my body. By understanding what my body can do and need to improve on, I can adjust myself to optimize my skills and find ways to improve myself. I may be able to run a mile in 10 minutes at first; so I set my goal to run in eight in the future. For something more on the mental side, dancing helps me sort out my strengths and weaknesses through this system of knowing limits and pushing them.

3. Give No Less than 110 Percent

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F12%2F23%2F6361808584893339431586831114_hip-hop-dancing.jpg%3Fquality%3D98%26strip%3Dall&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=622&h=157017bfe726566dc15d1415737d535e9ca1b3c034bb8ca8fd3f7881508d5454&size=980x&c=2267257368 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F12%252F23%252F6361808584893339431586831114_hip-hop-dancing.jpg%253Fquality%253D98%2526strip%253Dall%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D622%26h%3D157017bfe726566dc15d1415737d535e9ca1b3c034bb8ca8fd3f7881508d5454%26size%3D980x%26c%3D2267257368%22%7D" expand=1 original_size="1x1"]

If you don't look like you're having a great time, the audience will not have a great time. If you look like you're bored, or even appear like you don't want to be there, the audience will feel the same way too. As a dancer, it's vital that a performance is full of passion and everyone is giving more that 100 percent. Performing is, after all, entertainment -- you have to entertain well. The reason why the audience was willing to spend time to watch is because they expect the performance to be wonderful. Giving less than 110 percent is boring, and we've seen that through things beyond the stage.

Have you ever read your last-minute typed paper and thought it was BS? Or, have you ever cringed after your presentation because you realized you should have prepared more? It's no different from dancing.

4. Manage Your Time Wisely

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F12%2F23%2F636180860659660832-701679386_clock-12-15_33609_md.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=32&h=697b4d4c10837989382c283c17739739def2dd94c9e0ca8df1644ae2009a160e&size=980x&c=3787177344 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F12%252F23%252F636180860659660832-701679386_clock-12-15_33609_md.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D32%26h%3D697b4d4c10837989382c283c17739739def2dd94c9e0ca8df1644ae2009a160e%26size%3D980x%26c%3D3787177344%22%7D" expand=1]

Dancing was an extra-curricular activity that I had to balance with studying, family time, social life, test preparations, applications, club activities, etc. On top of all of that, I had to practice my choreography. There are days where I had to reschedule my whole day because of last minute dance practices, and it can get really stressful. Part of being successful in completing anything, whether it's graduating college on time or even getting that final quarter report in before the holidays, is time management. Prioritizing and planning ahead is important for all dancers, especially those who are trying to make dancing their profession. It's a major skill that's important for all career paths, especially those that are demanding and fast paced.

5. Stretch, stretch, stretch (prep, prep, prep).

Dance is a physical activity, and all physical activities require stretching. By keeping the body warmed up and flexible before any performance or practice can be done, the risk of injury can be lowered.

Even if you're not dancing, you always want to prepare yourself for anything. Presentation cards, vocal warm ups, makeup-touch ups, spare clothes, extra rations of food, an app for last minute de-stressing -- you name it. It's not always guaranteed that something won't go wrong, but it's better to lower your chances than keep them high. For dancing, it's the same too. Stretching decreases the odds of sprained ankles, torn ligaments, and muscle cramps. It's always better safe than sorry.

6. Never say, "I can't."

I had a wonderful teacher who was known for an infamous rule in his classes -- if anyone is caught saying "I can't," they had to do 10 push ups. Part of doing something is putting your mind to it. He explained that the reason why we are unable to do certain things is not always because we lacked the skills or the strengths to do it. We mentally told ourselves we couldn't do it. We have to get rid of our fear in failing to do a new move or skill.

7. Every detail counts.

Weight on toes, feet turned out into first position, legs straight, thighs to the front, tailbone down, core engaged, back straight, shoulders pushed down, neck straight, chin slightly up, head straight, arms in low fifth position and smile. That's what you need to keep in mind when you're standing as a ballet dancer. Part of dancing is taking in every detail of each part of the dance, and details are crucial to everyday life as well. A fist in one move can mean something different if it was changed into an open hand instead.

Details can slightly or drastically alter the tone of a written work or even the calculations of an experiment. Dancing taught me to notice all details and to also see how one change can affect the whole work overall.

8. Discipline and dedication go hand in hand.

To be successful in anything in life, you need discipline and dedication. These things are what makes us stick to what we love regardless of any discouragement, pain or even risks that come with our choices. Dancing is painful. It used to be normal for me to wake up with sore arms and legs and walk around with blistered feet. There were days where I just wanted to cry because I felt like I wasn't able to do what I wanted to do. Sure, a tear here and there is fine. But dancing taught me to suck it up. Physical and mental pain can be tough, but it's all the result of working hard. Nothing in this world is pretty, and the ones who know how to stay strong tend to be the ones who achieve their dreams in the end.

9. Teamwork makes the dream Work

I did a lot of group dances. Working in teams can teach you a lot of things, regardless of what your team's purpose is. I danced with a variety of people, and it's important to understand how to deal with all of them. I'll be honest -- my classes had amazing people with great personalities, but I know some dancers have experiences with partners who weren't so great. It's can be irritating when there's a conflict. Still, it's very important to complete a task, dance performance or even a school project, and having good teamwork is crucial.

Communication is key when it comes to teamwork. Knowing how to communicate in different ways is also important too. For dancing, communication involves understanding how to use your and your team's strengths and weaknesses.

10. After every performance, always bow.

My studio had a rule that every class had to followed. After every class, we all had to bow in front of the mirror, or show reverence. There was one time where my ballet class was reprimanded because we were all in a hurry to run out of class and forgot to do our reverence. It was a routine thing that I never really understood until now.

Just like any day in my life, there are going to be some bad moments. I may have stumbled on a few words in my speech, I forgot some lines while playing my character, I might have fallen halfway in my dance routine. Even if I did mess up, the least I could do was end it all on a good note. After all, I performed for an audience, and I should thank them for allowing me to try my best. The final bow was not just a sign of respect given by the performer. It reassured me that everything is still well -- that I shouldn't stay in the past. Like everything else in life, I need to keep on pushing forward. It will be difficult to live life if I keep looking back.

I think dancing will remain a part of my life for a very long time. Even when I'm old and frail, I'll still be grooving to some tunes while dragging around my walker.

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

20 Traditional Hispanic Recipes To Feast On In Honor Of Hispanic Heritage Month

... in case you needed another excuse to eat empanadas and churros.

20 Traditional Hispanic Recipes To Feast On In Honor Of Hispanic Heritage Month

Like many of my wanderlust-ridden friends and family, I'll travel anywhere for the promise of good food. I once went to Thailand in pursuit of traditional massaman curry and Spain for authentic patatas bravas — neither of which let me down.

What usually ends up being the biggest letdown is coming home to miss the traditional, local cuisine. It may not have quite the same ambiance, but trying to cook authentic dishes at home can increase appreciation for the craft and culture behind them.

Keep Reading... Show less
Google Images

Launched by Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad in 2014, My Stealthy Freedom is a commendable campaign that shows women going against the strict hijab restrictions in Iran. This movement has recently gained a lot of momentum on their Facebook page and is currently even gaining support from tourists in Iran. Ms. Alinejad shares photos of men in hijabs and women inside Iran who have taken part in a moment of 'stealthy freedom' by removing their hijabs to the outside world.

Keep Reading... Show less

Sinning in Las Vegas

Be careful what you do and post


Going to Las Vegas for the weekend is practically a sacramental right of passage in college. It’s so crucial to our early adulthood development that Snapchat even made a filter that says “Vegas for the Weekend.” Damn Snapchat, you really do get it. 

Keep Reading... Show less

10 Reasons Coffee Is The Best In Honor Of National Coffee Day

National Coffee Day is upon us, and what better way to celebrate than to remember why it's so amazing?

10 Reasons Coffee Is The Best In Honor Of National Coffee Day

National Coffee Day falls on September 29, a fact that I don't think I'll ever forget, even though I didn't even know it was a "holiday" until just recently. Maybe that's because my love for coffee is still a recent development, or maybe I just don't keep up enough with the times, but either way, I can't think of any better time to recount why we all probably love it so much.

Keep Reading... Show less

Hispanic Heritage Month

A lil history and a few thoughts.

Dianeliz Gonzalez

Hispanic Heritage month is here, and we are ready to celebrate!

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments