March 6, 2014 by Nicole
I recently pinned a new quote to my Pinterest board: “don’t practice till you get it right. Practice until you can’t get it wrong.”
Reading that actually reminded me of something one of my first dance teachers used to say. She’d tell her students that “practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.”
That has always stuck with me. Probably because I’m a bit of a perfectionist by nature. I think to some degree, most dancers are. It’s just part of what we do – learn a step/technique/etc & then work on perfecting it.
And although I may have interpreted it that way at the time, I see now that my teacher wasn’t pushing us to be perfect. She was really challenging our intent. It was a call to be thoughtful about what we were doing, because actions turn into habits.
How often do you take class as if it’s a performance you’ll never get back & people paid to see? And how often do you mark a few things here or there…or go through the motions on a step or exercise you don’t particularly love? We all do. At least, every once in a while. “Perfect practice makes perfect” is just a little wakeup call – a reminder that, in the words of Aristotle, “we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
That’s why intent – be it in your dance life or elsewhere – matters. Few things in life just happen…it more often takes goal-setting, focused intentions and consistent, persistent effort.
Setting your intentions before class can be hugely helpful for your focus and long-term improvement – that’s another good thing to either jot down or review before class in your dance journal.
I’m always looking for motivation…sometimes you (ok, I) just need a beautiful image or inspiring quote to hold on to. This one just came to me, so that’s what I wanted to share with you with this week. Until next time, see you in class & keep dancing!
How do you feel about “perfect practice makes perfect”? What quotes do you hold on to from your dance teachers? Tell me about it in the Comments section!