Summer can be a lot of things, it can be excited, fun, full of changes and hopes, but it can also be full of stress as students prepare their school schedules and get their extra-curricular's in order.
For dancers we hope to give some tips on getting "back in the game".
Tip # 1 Pick a Theme
Find a goal or theme for this year that is realistic, but just challenging enough. Most dancers aspire to get their splits, increase their range of motion or extensions, get their pointe shoes, or learn a new trick. There are of course many other things that we hope to improve each year, but this can be overwhelming or unrealistic. I have found, in my training, that picking a theme fro the year or term is the most manageable way to accomplish goals. An example would be Flexibility, Transitions, Memorization, Improvisation, Turns, Leaps, Performance Skills and the list goes on. So think of what matters most to you, and create a poster or fun reminder to focus on that theme this year.
Planners are also a wonderful way to keep things organized and keep yourself on track. Try writing your themes at the top of the pages.
Tip # 2 Adjust Your Sleep Schedule
Once you have your theme picked you can evaluate your sleep schedule. I think getting a handle on your physical health directly influences self-discipline and time management as well as your ability to improve and dance safely and beautifully. Start your sleep schedule before school begins so that you have one less adjustment to make.
Tip # 3 Get Nutrition
Check your diet. I am a huge proponent of healthy dancers and healthy lifestyles. Balance is so important in our life to maintain long term commitments and gain long term improvements. I would never suggest a dancer goes "on a diet"! Instead, I would advise that you meet with your doctor or other health professionals to evaluate if there is anything missing from your current food regimen. Dance is an art, but it is also a sport; and as such dancers require calories, fats/oils, fruits, vegetables, carbs, protein, and even some treats! When I dance or compete I eat almost twice as much as my husband, not to make a statement, but because my body needs that energy. If there is one thing that I would suggest avoiding it would be soda. But that is my personal opinion and once I am pregnant I will be drinking my fair share of ginger ale. ;)
Tip # 4 Self-Care
Take care of yourself first. We all have priorities and keeping them in line is so important to success in dance or life in general. Our physical, mental/education, emotional, spiritual parts of our life make us who we are. If you need to scale it back, then do it. I would advise avoiding extreme schedules or the lack there-of. Neither are good for our well-being.
I am fairly open about my lifestyle, and if you ever have any questions please feel free to ask. But I believe strongly that therapy or counseling is an important part of our health and ability to focus and manage life in a healthy way. I currently attend regular therapy sessions to help me manage my life in a healthy way. I have heard a lot of dancers state that "dance is my therapy", but while it may be therapeutic or cathartic, it is not a replacement for mental health professionals. Eventually I would love to become licensed and create my own method of therapy for dancers involving movement--but until then, finding a fabulous professional to talk to is always a plus.
Tip # 5 Start Practicing
Start practicing at home. Remember that injury prevention can also play a large part in our performance during the year. Start doing exercises, routines and stretches at home before the school year, or dance schedule begins.
I am so excited to dance with my students again, and we look forward to welcoming our new students! Please contact me if you have any questions. :)