The 3 Ways You Make Progress in Dancing or Anything Else
There are plenty of times when you're convinced you are making zero progress.
Like you're stuck in a progress black hole, sucking in all the potential gains past the sucky event horizon, vaporizing them, and any other progress toting people that happen to get in the way.
The progress black hole overtakes both students and teachers, social and competitive, ballroom, latin, jazz, tap, and ballet dancers alike.
It swallows up everything from good days to entire dance hobbies, and before you allow this swirling vortex to take hold of everything dance related that you hold near and dear, let us present a solution.
Yes, and it's progress black hole proof.
3 Ways You Make Progress in Dancing (or Anything Else)
The Progress Black Hole ("PBH") is powered by emotions, knee-jerk reactions, and snap decisions all taking place in the moment. These 3 steps are built around logical information, real data, and objective vantage points.
1. How it Looks
There are times when, regardless of how you feel, you can do something that looks really good. Your teacher, dance partner, or any other casual observer will help point out that you're making progress in this area, regardless of your opinion on the matter.
2. How it Feels to Your Partner
Your dance partner has a very unique vantage point. They are on the receiving end of your dance frame, and have a front row seat to everything from your effort to your body language. This role and vantage point isn't restricted to competitive partners either. Each and every time you dance socially at a Practice Party or outside dance event, you have an opportunity to receive feedback from your partner.
3. How it Feels to You
Think of this progress funnel as the one most likely to look like an unimpressed judge on a reality show, or medieval executioner. Translation: You are your own worst critic. There may be a moment in time when you give yourself high marks on how your dancing felt, but be glad that this isn't the only gateway to progress.
Understanding These Progress Points
An Independent Trio
The reason these are so effective is that they are all independent of each other. While depending solely on #3 "How it Feels to You" could certainly get you swallowed up by the PBH, the goal is to recognize that there are other avenues to progress, and vantage points that are equally valid.
This means that there may be times when:
- It feels good to you, but doesn't look so great when you watch it on video.
- Feels great to your partner, but doesn't feel great to you.
- Looks great but feels lousy to you and your partner.
The Miraculous (and Elusive) Moment
There will be a time when the heavens will open up, the dance frames will align, and there will be gold stars of progress in all three categories. It can, and will, happen, but it's infrequent, elusive, but a feeling worth aiming for with each and every dance attempt you make.
The Common Tendency To Watch Out For
There will be times when your teacher pays you a compliment - whether they are dancing with you, or observing you with your partner, and it is very easy to dismiss this as a compliment based on professional obligation because it doesn't match your own opinion (#3).
This is where we need to understand that you are the keeper of the data in #3, and that their compliment is based on #1 ("How it Looks") or #2 ("How it feels to them" as your partner).
Your progress is not as elusive as you might think.
Thinking about this article, your opinion on your progress is really only one third of the whole story. As easy as it is to be convinced, internally, that your dancing has hit a plateau or is receding back to beginner levels, there are external opinions that account for the other two thirds.
So cut some slack to your teacher, dance coach, partner, or anyone else that has gone out of their way to tell you you're doing great. They could have easily kept that information to themselves, or shared something far worse.
At some point the heavens may open up, you may see, feel, and recognize your own progress, while the world around you does the same, but until that fateful moment occurs... cut yourself some slack.
Your process is creating progress, even if you're the last one to realize it.
Take the next step in your Dance Hobby and become an Arthur Murray Live subscriber today!