November 20, 2014 by Nicole
As it often does, Pinterest recently inspired me to share something that I’ve picked up along the way, after lots of conversations with not only dance teachers, but really any kind of teachers or instructor. This concept is really universal & it goes like this: don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.
If you’re a beginner or thinking about starting dance education, that’s one of the best pieces of advice I have for you and something that your dance teacher definitely wishes you understand coming in. It sounds easy, but it’s really challenging!
It’s easy, and probably a little natural, to look around the room and try to evaluate where you are in comparison. While there is a time & place for that, as a beginner, it’s really important and helpful to keep in mind that you’re not really comparing apples to apples. You’re looking at yourself in phase one….where others around you may be in phase 2. Or 5. Or 10 (you get my drift here).
You definitely want to learn from the experienced dancers around you…but stay proud of what you’re achieving as well! Starting something new takes a lot of courage – and the learning curve isn’t always gentle. As a beginner, you’re learning new & specific ways to move your body and sometimes exploring the mind-body connection for the first time. Not easy work!
Sometime (really, often) to work safely and correctly, you’ll have to put aside your ego and stumble through combinations, lower your extensions and feel that shiver/shake of waking up new muscles in a balance. That’s when an affirmation like “don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle” can serve you. Remember that he didn’t always fly through combinations and her legs started out at a 90 degree extension too. And that’s ok!
It doesn’t mean you can’t do it right or you’re not good at it…it just means there’s progress that you can make! Think about where you are and where you want to be, then use your dance journal to help you track that journey. Have patience with yourself and commit to thoughtful practice, with intention.
Do you remember being a beginner? How did you keep yourself inspired, not discouraged, by experienced dancers?