Another week, another challenge!
But first, a shameless plug: it’s sometimes a challenge for me to keep up a weekly blog. If you like these challenges, please help me spread the word about them! Give me a “like” on Facebook, or a re-tweet on Twitter. Or share this blog on your social media of choice. At the end of every challenge, I’ve added a “click-to-tweet” where you can share that you are taking the challenge with me. It’s super easy! And, if you really like this blog a lot, consider making a donation. There’s a button to the right. All money will go to help keeping my website up and running (this is a free blog, btw, but it’s nice to get some money to defray the costs of hosting my website, which has links to the blog).
And a HUGE thank you to all who already do share, like, and otherwise help me promote my blog and dance. This is my dream, and you are helping it become a reality!
Okay, so onto the challenge!
Oh, the flippy hands. Staring at the floor. Not breathing during drill. Chicken arms. Breaks in posture (otherwise known as “sad dancer”). Frozen smiles. “Tribal Fusion face.” Sword face…
Dancers get a lot of bad habits. This can either come from too much practice without a teacher’s guidance, a teacher who has her own bad habits that he/she passes on, our lack of body awareness, or just from nervousness or concentration when we perform. Personally (and this is a big admission to make to the public), if I’m super nervous, my left hand doesn’t hold still when I perform. It’s a super obvious tell, and now you know it! Yikes!
I shared that, though, because I want other dancers to know that I’m not shaming those who have those habits I listed. I have bad habits, too! It happens, and I try very hard not to pass them on to my students. I’ve done extreme things to train these habits out of my dance (like using electric tape on both hands and wrists to keep those silly hands still!) We all have our bad habits, our nervous tics, our tells. Here’s a chance to work on them!
This is an all level challenge. First of all, you need video of you either drilling or performing. If you don’t have video, just prop up your phone and film yourself doing your basic drills, your best choreography or class combo, or even just a song or two of improv (I highly recommend this if you are comfortable with it; improv is usually when we are most nervous and those tells rear their ugly heads!)
Don’t worry about the quality of the video or be nervous about filming yourself; you’re not going to post this anywhere! No one will see it but you!
Watch the video and try to see what bad habits you have. Don’t shame yourself for them! Just watch and list them, no judging allowed. Check your hands. Do they flip and flop around like fish? What about your arm posture? What about your body posture? Do you “melt” as you drill? Do you make funny faces, or stick your tongue out while you are concentrating? It can even be as nit-picky as “I’m not pointing my toes” to getting that “Oh-please-don’t-let-the-sword-fall-off-my-head” face.
This week, concentrate on removing one bad habit from your dance. Don’t panic if you have many, it happens to us all. Just pick the one that bothers you the most and work on that one. If you have floppy hands, make sure you concentrate on them while you are dancing this week. Get them to stop moving around so much. I had this problem awhile back and I wrapped electrical tape around my wrists, fingers, and hands to lock them in place, then practiced that way. It helped a lot, though my left hand has its own little mind when I get nervous. If you get sword face, practice just smiling when that sword goes on your head.
Brainstorm some ideas on how to fix those bad habits, and use this week to start training them out of your dance! It will take longer than a week, but this is a great start, and a chance to analyze your dance.
Taking the challenge? Let everyone else know! Tweet it!