Happy new year! A chance to examine your priorities and get your ducks in a row. Dance is a sport and art form that necessitates constant improvement. Whether you’re trying to focus on personal technical advancements, better recovery routines, or long-term career planning, here are our 6 best new year’s resolutions for dancers. And remember, these are year-long goals, so don’t panic if by March you’re still in your beginning stages. We won’t see you with another one of these lists until 2025!
I remember someone asking me if I was a gym-goer. I thought, the gym? Why would I need that? I dance! But dancers can hugely benefit from cross-training to enhance their overall strength, endurance, and zero in on muscle groups they might not otherwise often use. Try incorporating activities like running or jogging, weight training, pilates, yoga, even a sport like boxing into your routine. A well-rounded fitness approach not only improves your overall health but also contributes to a making you a more robust and resilient performer.
There will likely be tons of classes and gyms in your area offering the above activities, but if you’re wanting to keep frugal look to the internet! Youtube hosts hundreds of creators providing high-quality exercises in varying levels, lengths, and disciplines. Check out Youtubers like Move With Nicole for pilates and yoga, The Running Channel for exercises and tips to improve your run, and POPSUGAR Fitness actually has some super fun and lightweight boxing workouts, like this one!
Clean Out Your Dance Bag
Friends, it’s time. There’s a Tupperware with a leftover lunch in there. Old, torn ballet shoes you haven’t worn for a year. You spilled your water bottle in there a few weeks ago and it’s still… damp? A relatively easy and quick step to start your year off on the right foot. Not only does it perhaps smell less than ideal, keeping your bag clean is supremely beneficial for your health. Subjecting yourself to foot conditions because dirty shoes are remaining soiled and damp in a sealed bag is very avoidable (but easily done.) If the bag is beyond salvage, treat yourself and invest in a new one!
Check out The Dance Stores collection of dance bags in assorted sizes and styles, from cutesy to classic.
Document Your Journey
Capturing photo and video of your classes, rehearsal, or solo practices is a tangible way to document your progress. It’s as easy as setting up your phone against the mirror or on a stool and pressing record. Recording your work not only helps you analyze and identify issues in your form and performance to improve, but also allows you to create a visual diary of your dance journey. How cool to be able to look back on a specific turn or jump from two years ago and compare it to your current abilities?
Improve Your Pirouettes
Turn that double into a triple and that triple into a quad! This is not an instant fix like some others on this list, but doesn’t mean you can’t start now. We’re not saying you should be nailing seven pirouettes by December, but adding one rotation to your current number is worthwhile and achievable goal. Check out our blog on 6 Proven Tips for Better Dance Turns to get started with exercises and tips on form!
Take It Out Of The Studio
It’s more than easy, it’s the default to train solely at your studio and receive instruction only from your teachers. I witnessed my most meteoric creative and technical growth by attending outside masterclasses and conventions. You may be somewhat accustomed to the choreographic style of your teachers. Learning choreography from guest artists and masterclass instructors can feel frankly magical. It exposes you not only to new steps and rhythms, but to an entirely new philosophy of dance and choreo.
You may be feeling pretty comfortable being one of the top students at your studio, even often cleaning up at local competitions, but attending larger conventions can be humbling in the best way. You’ll meet dancers your age from across the country or world dancing at an exceptionally high level. With strongly developed personal styles you can learn from and emulate. Executing turns and jumps and floorwork beyond anything you’ve seen before. It’s an exciting and grounding experience a dancer dedicated to improvement should prioritize.
As dancers, we’re used to pushing our bodies to (and beyond!) the limit. Think of self-care as just another essential piece of your routine, as important as tying your shoes and stretching before class. This year, prioritize rest, recovery, and the well-being of your mind as well as your body. Establish a daily stretching routine, invest in quality sleep, and consider activities like yoga or meditation to keep your mind and body in top condition.