Reach Your Goals As A Dancer!

Reach Your Goals As A Dancer!

Dancing is not only about being passionate and loving what you do; it’s also about working hard and putting in the time and energy required to push yourself to be better. Sometimes, we fall flat on our face and decide to stay there. Sometimes, we work harder than we ever have and only improve in the slightest ways. It’s easy to feel discouraged and even easier to discourage ourselves. Time and time again, we tell ourselves that “it’s never going to happen” or that it’s “always going to be a dream”. But, it doesn’t have to be. Instead of only looking at the giant end goal that we’ve set so far ahead of ourselves, let’s break it up into smaller, individual goals that will get us closer to what we want to achieve.

This can be helpful in any type of mission. But, dancers are something special. We have so much to accomplish and tend to feel the senses of accomplishment or defeat much stronger than the average person. Because of this, breaking up an overall goal will help to ease the anxiety and stress that dancers often cause themselves.

But, how do we break our goals up? Here’s how to do it:

1. Set Monthly Goals

Just as the current month ends, sit down and make a small (PRACTICAL) list of goals to accomplish within the next month. This way, you won’t overwhelm yourself with too much at once. Do this for each month.

2. One-Year Plan

Where do you want to be with your goals in a year? Don’t be too specific or you’ll feel unaccomplished by the time you get there. When a full year goes by, stop and look at how much you’ve accomplished already. Then, set out for your next One-Year plan. Your plan should be something that you could only accomplish within that year. For example, after joining your first dance class, you should not make your plan to be starring in the Royal Ballet as Odette/Odile in Swan Lake. That’s just not going to happen. Instead, the goal should be to learn and improve as much as possible to exceed into the next level or levels of training. A one-year plan is only good if it’s realistic.

3. 5 Years From Now.

Similar to the one-year plan, a plan for 5 years ahead needs to be something you can actually accomplish in that time frame. Are you trying to land a spot in your studio’s Company? Are you trying to make it into a prestigious company that you’ve been eye-ing? Then, set out to do that. Five years gives you time to perfect your craft and improve your technique to the point that you may be able to study even further!

 

Always keep working towards your goals. And when they seem too daunting, think to yourself, “Is this something that I really want?”. If the answer is yes, then break down what needs to be done to get you there. Then go for it. A goal is only a dream if there is no action behind it. As time progresses, keep breaking down those goals and meet them with confidence. Life will be less difficult, less scary, less stressful, and more rewarding.

Passion ~ Dedication ~ Artistry

Finding Your Midweek Motivation!

Finding Your Midweek Motivation!

It’s Wednesday once again, friends. It’s no longer the beginning of the week yet we’ve not exactly made it to the end of the week. We’re stuck in that annoying one day stretch most commonly referred to as “Hump Day” Wednesday is like reaching the peak of a hill (the hump) only to find the rest of it on the other side. When we realize that there’s still that much more of the week to tackle, it can be so easy to lose motivation.

#Relatable

We’re all dancers here! It’s our job to support one another and push each other to work hard and be the best we can be. So, naturally, we’ve done a little research and found a some great ways to keep your spirits up, motivate you and add a bit more pep in your step to get you through to the weekend. Shall we begin?

1. Treat Yourself!

It’s always nice to indulge in a small, sweet treat now and then. And it’s nice to reward yourself when accomplishing tasks. So, here’s the plan: Each week, set out to accomplish something important at the beginning of the week. Then on Wednesday, you can allow yourself a small treat to reward yourself for your dedication to achieving your goals. Don’t go crazy and suck down a 7 course meal but, enjoy your favorite candy bar or baked good. Whatever it is, it should be something that you won’t feel guilty over for the rest of the week. That’s what the weekend’s for. 😉

2. How Pinteresting!

What do you use Pinterest for? Everything? Yeah, so does the rest of the world. One of the best ways to give yourself a bit of encouragement or motivation is to scroll through a gallery of images that move you, inspire you, and remind you why you love to dance. In fact, why don’t you follow Plainfield Dance Academy on Pinterest? It differs for everyone, what will be an effective image to spark one’s interest. There’s something about seeing a professional dancer or ballerina onstage or reading just the right quote that helps us stay on track with our goals and the fire burning in our hearts.

3. Just Hit Play!

Just like Pinterest, watching a video following your idol or your field of passion is one of the most effective ways of inspiring your creative side, reigniting your passion. For ballet dancers in particular, check out YouTube’s Ballet InsiderGiving us a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to put together a Russian Ballet, introducing dancers to the viewers and, the most popular type of video, a day in the life of the various dancers in the company. In order to keep a dream alive, sometimes, getting a sneak peek into the life that you’re aspiring to live can be the one thing to get you on your feet and back to work.

4. Relive Your Journey

It’s time to break out the cringe-worthy videos, people. Find those recital tapes and watch what a goofy, uncoordinated kid you were. Think about all of the training that you’ve done between then and now. Think about how long it’s been since you were that little, just beginning to dabble in what would become your life’s passion. As much as you want to burn the evidence and never let it see the light of day again, these memories are important. Think as that little kid with all of that endless optimism and happiness, and remember how you felt when you first stepped on that stage. What’s different now? Use these memories to bring that feeling back.

 

It’s only Wednesday, everyone! There’s still the rest of the week to show the world (or at least the studio) what you’ve got. Work hard, treat yourself well and prove the nay-sayers wrong. We know you can do it; you know you can do it.

Passion ~ Dedication ~ Artistry

Back-to-School, Back-to-Dance: How to Survive!

Back-to-School, Back-to-Dance: How to Survive!

It’s back to school time for most of the world. And for our students, it’s both back to school AND back to dance!! Unlike back to school time, back to dance is much more pleasant. Dancers get to see their friends again, make new friends just joining the studio and continue honing their craft and building their passion. Being a student and a dancer can be a lot of responsibility which might wear them down a bit. Today, we’ve decided to scour the internet for tips and tricks to keep your life balanced, sane and (most importantly) happy while you go back to school and dance. After all, a happy and healthy performer is the strongest type of performer around.

“Sleep Tight” is just an expression

It’s common practice, and extremely necessary, to stretch before dance. It’s an absolute must. Sometimes, however, we leave class feeling a bit tighter than when we came in! We’ve been holding our bodies “just so” in order to perform to our full potential. And that can take its toll on a person. We did our research and found that one of the best times to stretch your body is actually in the evening just before going to bed. It’s true! We chose an extremely helpful video from YouTube’s Blogilates channel. And just listen to what she has to say about it:

“The best time for me to get more flexible is right before bed. Not only are my muscles most supple at this moment, at the end of the day, right after a shower, but stretching REALLY relaxes me and prepares me for a deep sleep. So, if you’re looking to increase your overall body flexibility, do this video every night before bed and you’ll see a difference in your range of motion in as fast as a week! But you MUST keep it up. Like anything else, flexibility takes work and it takes time. There is no shortcut. Have fun! You can do these stretches right on your bed!”

Click on the photo to see the video!

Buckle Down, Kiddo!

There’s no funny image or video to go with this one because this one’s more like a prelude to another point. If you’ve got any tasks that must get done before, between, during or after school and dance, just do it. It’s so important to keep yourself on task. Putting things off until the last minute really only adds to stress and creates more anxiety than you can handle. When you get your act together and keep your ducks in a row, you’ll no longer stay up through all hours of the night trying to finish anything last minute.

Speaking of staying up all night…

Hit the Hay, Clock Out, Hit the Sack, K.O., SLEEP!

People take sleep for granted all the time. They think that they can get away with pulling multiple all-nighters and not expect any consequences. Well, my friends, that’s not how your body works. After some time, you feel some strange side effects from sleep deprivation. On our Pinterest board Health & Nutrition, we display plenty of facts about sleeping habits, sleep deprivation, tips and tricks, along with many other facts and advice about (duh!) health and nutrition! Go, read and learn all about why sleep is more important to your overall health than you may have realized.

Nom Noms, A.K.A. Food

Hey, do you like food? Yeah? Cool! We all have dreams of eating all day, everyday and never gaining a point or having it affect us negatively in any way. But, unfortunately, some dreams never come true. There are so many foods out there that, while they’re delicious, they’re not exactly recommended for us by medical professionals. Basically, there’s tons of junk food that we’d rather enjoy than a piece of celery. BUT, we don’t have to frown about it! Because there are SO many other foods that we can have that won’t break the scale or affect us in any harmful ways. Healthy eating is not just for those who want to lose weight. Some people change their diet based on food sensitivities, allergies, skin concerns, etc.

There are some YouTube channels out there that focus solely on healthy foods and recipes that you might love! Not only is the food good for you but, they’re delicious and easy to make too! Here are a few of our channel suggestions:

Thriving on Plants

You don’t have to be vegan to enjoy vegan food! The ThrivingonPlants YouTube channel has an insanely large following of people looking to cook and eat better choices in their own homes. The What I Eat In A Day videos are the most popular because it shows a sped up example of how to make some of these amazing recipes. All recipes are even listed in the descriptions below the videos! How simple and convenient is that?

And like we said before, you don’t have to be vegan to enjoy vegan food. Food shown on this channel is super easy to make and extremely delicious. So, give it a try!

Mind Over Munch

Chance are, you’re both a student and a dancer. So, you’ve got a pretty packed schedule. You eat lunch during your lunch period at school and get a little hungry after school, don’t you? But, you’ve got dance after school. Hmmm… Mind Over Munch is at your service! This YouTube channel focuses on making healthy, easy and affordable bento meals. If you’re not familiar with bento boxes, you’re in for a life changing experience. Just click on the picture to watch and learn!

 

Check In With Yourself

What’s truly important as you make your way back to school and dance, is that you take care of yourself and listen to your body. How are you feeling? What does your body need? Listen and act accordingly. The best thing you can do for yourself is to treat yourself like the special individual you are. Be kind to yourself and take this next school and dance year by storm! You can do it. So do it!

Passion ~ Dedication ~ Artistry

Fall Is Making It’s Entrance!

Fall Is Making It’s Entrance!

With the school year beginning all around the U.S., so will the Fall season. Fall means lightly layered clothes, pumpkin spiced everything and chilly weather. As the weather begins to cool down bit by bit, there are a few tricks that dancers swear by to keep themselves warm and healthy. And that’s exactly what we’re getting into today!

Dressing the Part

Taking care of a dancer’s body as the weather turns is really about making sure that you’re keeping yourself warm. So, your main focus is going to be on your choice of clothing. You will never see a serious dancer or ballerina go out in cold weather without wearing the “unsung uniform” that’s become a staple in a dancer’s life.

1.) Scarves.

Did you know that most common colds begin when the throat and nasal passages are insufficiently protected? A sore throat is usually one of the first signs of an upcoming illness. So, if you’re prone to seasonal colds, investing in a few heavy-duty scarves will be a wise decision.

2.) Sweaters & Coats

Have you ever heard of a chest cold? That’s another all too common form of seasonal illness that can be SO easily avoided. It may be tempting to show off your cute outfit by wearing your sweaters, jackets and coats unzipped. But, you’ll definitely feel the consequences of that decision in the form of painful chest coughs and congestion. Dancers need to be able to control their breath as they dance as to not get dizzy or light headed from moving too quickly or suddenly. Making sure that you bundle up will prevent much headache.

3.) Leg Warmers

These things aren’t just an 80’s fashion trend. Leg warmers are exactly what they sound like. They warm your legs! Dancers rely on their legs for most of their dancing. and pointe dancers? Forget about it! Imagine the impact of cold, tense muscles on a pointe dancer. The result is not a good one. Keeping your muscles warm helps keep them loose and flexible, which is necessary for a strong performance.

4.) Sweatpants

Let’s cover up these leg warmers, shall we? When the weather calls for it, bundling up as much as possible is the best way to be certain that you are doing your best to keep your muscles from getting too cold and tense.

Of course, use these tips at your own discretion! If you know the weather doesn’t require a scarf, leg warmers, a sweater, coat AND sweatpants, make the call for yourself. Does it feel like a scarf and light jacket kind of day? Good! Need a little more coverage? Do it! Just make sure that you are, in fact, dressing accordingly with the weather. The main focus of keeping warm in cooler weather is preventing muscle and other body injuries. Along with dressing to keep warm, we also recommend warm drinks like tea, hot water and lemon or honey. Do regular stretching even outside of the studio to keep yourself limber. Eat a healthy and warm meal to keep yourself warm from the inside out!

Remember, if you take care of your body, your body will take care of you.

Passion ~ Dedication ~ Artistry

Building Confidence As A Dancer

Building Confidence As A Dancer

Dance is an art. Art takes dedication, concentration and attention to detail. No matter the amount of passion you put into your work, it’s still work. There are times when you may feel that you’ve done all you can and you can’t climb any higher than where you already are. When you’ve come to this point in your craft, there are only two ways to deal with it. 1.) You can give up and climb back down or 2.) You can keep climbing. So many people choose option one because it seems like the easier choice. But, the easier choice isn’t always the one worth choosing. You’ll find that choosing to continue despite the struggles and hardships that may follow is often more rewarding.

If you haven’t figured it out, today’s topic is confidence. More accurately, how to develop confidence as a dancer and carrying that over into all aspects of your life.

In more cases than you can probably count, you’ve compared yourself to others. “Am I as smart as them?”, “Am I as talented as them?”, “Do I work as hard as them?”, “Why can’t I be as good as them?”

We all do it; it’s human nature. Here’s the problem with that: no two people are ever going to be in the exact same position in their journey through life. We have a tendency to only give ourselves praise if we out-perform others. The only reason that we should praise ourselves is when we out-perform ourselves. As a dancer, we are constantly reminded of the talents of those around us. Remember to focus on yourself and measure your progress based on what you do. You are your only competition.

Mistakes. We all make them. We can either choose to learn from them or let them dictate our next moves. Raise your hand if you’ve ever been your own worst critic. Everyone should have a hand in the air.

Making mistakes is just another part of the learning experience. As dancers, we fall, we stumble and we miss a few steps here and there. Does that mean that we should hang up our pointe shoes and step away from the barre for good? Of course not! When we make these mistakes, use them to shape your performance. Use your falls as lessons and remind yourself that a good performance doesn’t just happen. It’s something you work for.

Persistence, persistence, persistence. This is what makes a great dancer. Heck, this is what makes a great anything! Without constant persistence and self assurance, where would any of us be? In order to achieve the impossible, you must go out on a limb and do it. When it seems like you’re not going to get as far as you want, stop, readjust your perspective, plan your next move and take action. You’re never going to improve if you give up. You are where you are because you worked for it. Believe in all of the amazing things that you are. Know how special you are and how lucky you are to be able to express yourself in such a beautiful art form.

Keep your head held high, keep your eye on your goals, and clear your mind of any outside noise (i.e. haters, competition, self doubt, negativity, shaming, etc.). Here’s your challenge:

1.) At the beginning of the day, look at yourself in the mirror. Tell yourself all of the things you love about your body. You muscles, the color of your hair, the dimple in your chin. Then, tell yourself all of the things you’re going to work on improving today. 2.) At the end of the day, go back to the mirror. Tell yourself about all of your triumphs today. Then, without being self-deprecating, tell yourself what you will do better tomorrow.

My dear dancer, you are more talented than you could possibly know. You work harder than most and have more patience than most. Be as kind and understanding to yourself as you are with others. When you stop doubting yourself, you’ll start shining brighter.

Passion ~ Dedication ~ Artistry

How to Treat Your Dancing Feet!

How to Treat Your Dancing Feet!

They call them Twinkle Toes but, really…

Dancers are tough on their feet. This is no secret; this is no surprise. All of this rehearsal and constant exercise can really wear down your feet. Dancer’s feet or, as dancers love to refer to them, ugly feet are a constant topic for jokes. Every dancer has their own tricks to take care of their feet but, there are some that our readers may not know about! So today, we’ve gathered a list of some great tips for preventing damage and repairing damage you may experience during your dance career. Some are pretty well-known while others might surprise you. You’ll thank us later!

1. Barre Balm

This aromatherapy stick balm is a sensation in the dance community! After a long day of rehearsal, use this balm by applying it to the bottoms of your feet and putting on a pair of socks. Get off your feet and relax as the balm cools and soothes your aching feet.

2. Tennis Ball

This one is more well-known but, it never hurts to remind people about it!

A favourite for just about everyone, rolling a tennis ball along the bottoms of your feet is one of the most effective ways of working out any small, tight kinks and knots you may have worked up during a rehearsal or performance.

3. Frozen Water Bottle

A similar concept to the tennis ball, rolling a frozen water bottle along the bottoms of your feet is extremely soothing to feet that need a little extra TLC. If you’ve pulled a muscle or feel a bit too sensitive to work out the kinks with a tennis ball, do this. The cold temperature will help soothe some of the pain and relax your muscles for a bit.

4.  Foot Alignment Socks

During rehearsals, your feet are constricted in very tight shoes which decreases circulation! Oh no! Well, have no fear! Alignment socks are here! Foot alignment socks are made with toe separators which will help increase circulation and improve the overall health of your feet. Poor foot health can effect not only your feet but your knees, hips, back AND neck! So, wearing these for a minimum of 15 minutes after rehearsal will help keep your feet in great shape.

5. Legs Up!

Laying on your back with your legs straight up against the wall is a great way to come down after an intense dance session. After being on your feet all day, putting your legs up like this help increase circulation and lowers your blood pressure! Not only is this a great way to get off your feet but, the lower blood pressure helps you wind down and relax for the night. Who can say no to that?

Remember that dance is not only about giving it your all, it’s about being the best you can by treating yourself in the best ways possible. So, take good care of yourself.

Passion ~ Dedication ~ Artistry

How to Fight the (Stage)Fright!

How to Fight the (Stage)Fright!

Even the most seasoned performers get a case of the jitters now and then. And everyone has their own way of coping with their nerves.

Whether you’re preparing for a show or waiting in the wings during one, here are a few small tips to help you remain calm and focused in order to perform to your best potential!

Keep Yourself Limber

One way to keep your nerves in check is by paying attention to your body, your muscles, and making sure that they’re in performing condition. By paying close attention to your body, you’re distracting yourself from feeling apprehensive.

Not only is this a great way to stay relaxed and focused, it’s also a phenomenal way for your body to release endorphins. If you didn’t know, endorphins are a natural compound in the human body which provides us with energy and the feeling of happiness. This one small act will do so much more for you than you might’ve thought!

Essential Oils

These fragrant oils aren’t just for your house! There are actually quite a few essential oils that are known to help  with nausea, headache and anxiety just by applying a small dab to the wrist or the temples. Here are the most popular oils used for anxiety:

  • Lavender

  • Eucalyptus

  • Jasmine

Breathe…

Take a moment to be alone with yourself.

Close yourself into your own private place to empty your mind and to breathe. Whether you choose to do this before or during a show, this small exercise can do wonders for the body and mind. Personally, I prefer to listen to some calming instrumentals as I do this. Think to yourself, I am strong, I am smart, I am capable. No matter what I do, I will do my best.

Use this time alone to reflect on how far you’ve come in your craft and to be proud of yourself. Enjoy the moment your are living in and remind yourself of why you love to dance.

Passion ~ Dedication ~ Artistry