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7 Life Lessons I Have Learnt From Dance

1. How to Tie a Ballet Bun In 45 Seconds

This is a silly thing that I am strangely proud of. In dance classes, teachers instil a sense of urgency, every minute in that studio counts, and you want to be able to start warming up before class starts; so some things like tying a bun becomes second nature. Along those lines, I also got to learn/practise hair and makeup, costumes, props, all those fun things that make life sparkly and enjoyable.

Beyond all that it is about the lessons that you learn outside of the studio that are equally as important in dance education.

2. The Ability of Ambidexterity

Dancers intentionally develop ambidexterity by training movements in both directions. Most dancers have a stronger side, but by training the weaker side, we are able to perform moves on both. This allows us to move seamlessly around the stage/space.

Biologically, learning to adapt and switch moves around in a great way to engage and activate our brains. It is also essential for our muscles on each side to develop simultaneously, if they do not there will be an imbalance leading to compensating muscles and therefore resulting in high risks of injuries.

3. Finding Your Passion(s)

I am really lucky to be someone who can call their passion their career as well. It does consume a large part of my life, my free time, hobbies, education, goals, etc are consumed by dance; yet I can do this day in day out with little to no off days because of the intrinsic motivation and drive that I have. I have literally puked as I walked to class twice to push through for my students (side note that I would not do this now after realising the seriousness of COVID-19 and that we need to stay away from people when we are ill). That was when I knew that I could do this for life.

I do acknowledge that pursuing your passion is not a choice that everyone can afford, but I highly recommend it if you are considering. There will be a lot of naysayers especially the ones who really care for your well-being, but your passion will help you block out these white noises.

4. Challenge Yourself

 "A life without challenge, a life without hardship, a life without purpose, seems pale and pointless. With challenge comes perseverance and gumption. With hardship comes resilience and resolve. With purpose comes strength and understanding.” ― Terry Fallis, The High Road

Dance challenges us mentally, emotionally and physically. Need I say more?

5. Set Goals

Dance like manners takes guidance and practise. Set yourself some micro and macro goals, and articulate how you want to go about achieving them and focus on them. Some days will be better than others, if you dance you will understand what I mean by: not every day is a good turning day. Give yourself the time and space to develop through short-term goals and build them over time. If you aim to be 10% better than what you were every single class, you will improve exponentially.

Rome was not built in a day.

6. Falling Is A Part Of Life

Have you fallen trying to do a pirouette? I have. I have also fallen while pressing both my toes while holding a doorknob (I was 8). One of the chants I remind the students before each performance:

“If you fall what do you do? We get up and continue dancing".

As dancers we train our bodies to do unimaginable feats, but we also have to train our mind. The constant strive for perfection has to be balanced with resilience in all aspects of our lives. Failures are successes in progress, always remember to get up and continue dancing. 

7. Learn From Different Teachers

There are infinite ways to teach and there are so many great teachers out there, find someone that suits your needs. As a beginner, it is probably best to stick to one teacher for the time-being. However, my opinion is that once you are at intermediate level to be open to other teachers/schools of thought.

If you are learning regularly from someone, take some workshops, find resources online, and be inquisitive to the world beyond. Someone else might have a new insight to offer, or hearing feedback from someone else just gets through to you (even after your teacher has nagged at you every class) because it is a fresh voice.

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