A positive mindset has been proven to improve performance in all kinds of fields, from business to sports. Port Orange dance studio provide a great place to incorporate a positive mindset through dance, not only for fun but for loftier goals like entering the professional dance world.

In order to have a positive mindset in dance classes, you should try to eliminate negative self-talk, focus on the small wins, set reasonable goals for yourself, and have regular check-ins with yourself, your parents, and your teachers to make sure you are getting the most out of your training.

At Legacy Dance Studio in Port Orange, dance teachers strive to instill positivity alongside excellent dance training. But dance teachers can only do so much! By incorporating these tips, you can do your part to develop a healthy, positive mindset for dance class and your life outside the studio!

Eliminate Negative Self-Talk

Do you ever hear a little voice in your head that criticizes your every move? Maybe she judges your pirouettes. Maybe she tells you you’ll never be good enough to win first place at competition. That little voice is sometimes YOU!

Negative self-talk goes on for most people, and while it’s nothing to be ashamed of, it’s certainly something that should be addressed. In dance classes especially, dancers are constantly being corrected (hopefully with kindness) by their teachers. There is also that tricky mirror that’s in every dance class, reflecting back at us the good, the bad, and everything in between.

One easy way to help eliminate negative self-talk for dancers is to incorporate the “best friend” rule for yourself. Think of your best friend in the entire world. If she asked you to watch her do the jazz combo from class that night, and give her some tips to make it better, would you say, “Ugh, Lauren, that side leap was awful! I can’t believe you’re so bad at jumps!”?

NO! At least, I hope not! If you wouldn’t speak to your best friend in a harsh, negative tone, re-think how you speak to yourself. It takes a lot of work to change your inner voice to a kinder, gentler one, but it will work wonders for your mindset in dance classes.

Focus on the Small Wins

Often in the dance world, we get into the habit of comparing our success (or perceived lack of success) to others’. The old adage “compare leads to despair” rings true in dance. When we only focus on what others are achieving, we forget about congratulating ourselves for even the smallest wins.

A small win in dance can be something as simple as nailing the complicated tendu combination at the barre on the first try. Or, it could be finally being able to reverse the tap sequence without any help from your teacher.

By focusing on the small wins first, you can start to see how they add up to more significant success at the dance studio or on the competition stage. Staying focused and really acknowledging the steps you’re taking towards a larger goal is a simple way to maintain a positive mindset.

Set Reasonable and Actionable Goals

As mentioned above, by starting small, you can work your way up to the larger, more difficult goals you set for yourself. But, you also have to actually set reasonable and actionable goals in dance in order to succeed!

Dance teachers, by nature of using a curriculum, typically have goals set for dancers from the get-go. There is a reason we start with pliés and end with battements at the ballet barre, for example. You have to start small before moving to something big.

The same goes for personal goal setting in dance. Dancers who don’t think about what they personally want to achieve in class or competition, even if they work hard and are naturally gifted, might not see improvement as quickly as they would like.

When you think about setting goals, use the SMART system, or as my friends over at Dance Parent 101 like to say, the SMART system was developed by a businessman named George Doran back in the 1980s to encourage businesses to more thoroughly think out their goals.

In dance, we can apply this system, which stands for S(specific), M(manageable), A(attainable), R(relevant), T(timely), and e(exciting)! Let’s face it – as dancers, we don’t want anything we do to be boring or bland, so the addition of “exciting” as a part of goal setting for a positive mindset is necessary!

  • Specific – Specific goals are very clear in their approach. Maybe your goal is to get a clean double pullback. That is a specific goal! “Be better at tap” is not specific.
  • Measurable – A measurable goal can be tracked over time. Did you make three sounds in the double pullback yesterday, but four today? That’s measurable.
  • Attainable – An attainable goal is something you can achieve based on having accomplished the fundamentals. A clean double pullback is not attainable unless you have mastered the skills that make up the step.
  • Relevant – A relevant goal relates to your long-term objectives, so if you are interested in moving up a level in tap class, mastering a double pullback will help you achieve that goal!
  • Timely – A timely goal gives you the motivation to work on the skills needed to achieve the goal. If you tell yourself you’ll get your double pullback in three years, that’s not timely!
  • Exciting – This is an addition for us dancers, but an exciting goal is one that excites you! Double pullbacks are certainly exciting and flashy and are a worthy goal to work towards.

Check In With Your Teachers, Parents, and Yourself

When cultivating a positive mindset in dance, it’s helpful to have your own personal cheering section rooting for you! That includes your parents, dance teachers, and yourself! If you are feeling more negative than positive about your dance life, make sure to tell someone.

But, it’s important to also make sure everyone on your journey as a dancer understands your goals. If your goals are to become a professional dancer, make the talent show at school, or simply to be a better dancer, make sure your parents and teachers know!

The path toward a professional dance career looks vastly different than the path to just dancing for the fun of it. If everyone on your team assumes one thing but you want another, there is bound to be confusion about how to approach teaching, giving advice, and even listening to your concerns.

If you are interested in dancing for fun, but your teacher or your studio environment is set up in a more high-stakes way, you may feel isolated, frustrated, and burnt out by the expectations. This makes sense, but having the conversation will open up a dialogue about how to best help you be the best dancer you can be – based on your personal desires!

A positive mindset can change your life! Start small by implementing these tips one at a time, and with a little patience, you will see results in your performance and your inner monologue!

Check out this article by Lesley: Port Orange Dance Studio Stresses the Importance of Staying Hydrated in Dance Class

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