Going back to class, sticking with it, and loving it is mentally and physically hard work.
What’s really different now (as I return) is how I think during each class.
There are very good options for dancers based here in London. However, it’s usually useful to know which class to attend. Thanks to recommendations of other dancers and dancing at schools like London Contemporary Dance School, I was guided towards the right teachers and environments that could suit my personal needs.
Although the teacher and environment may be fantastic, that doesn’t mean getting back into the groove won’t be frightening! It takes will-power, dedication, and persistence. Once bad habits are out and good habits start coming in, chances are you’re going to love what you do through thick and thin (love a good impromptu rhyme).
Here are some points to consider when going back to class after a long (or short) break:
Do it for yourself
There’s nothing worse (for yourself) than dreading class and then continuing to dread the class in its duration. As my former teacher, Maurya Kerr, would say ‘pick one thing to work on today […] and do it to the fullest’. It’s like writing an essay: first write an outline, expand on different parts at a time until you begin to see the whole picture, and finally, keep editing by taking out what’s unnecessary and expand your knowledge again. For me, unnecessary = over critical instructors; necessary = space to grow and learn.
There’s always something to work towards
Practicing and rehearsing are one of those challenges that just keeps on giving. Everyday will prove different as it should. As Juili Horvath once said, “never compare with others or yesterday”. Embrace learning new things about yourself and the environment. What have you noticed? What’s going on? How are you responding or not responding? See if the body and mind can work together, for instance.
Use your wildest imagination
Bad days happen. Oh well. That’s the perk of being persistent; overcoming pitfalls. Imagination can be anecdotal, anatomical, abstract, a sound, a feeling, etc. You name it, you use it. Did you know that, “for improvement […] to be permanent, changes need to come from your body image […] new patterns need to become a part of your identity or you’ll always slip back into old habits.” Thank you Eric Franklin.
Do what feels good
Listen to your body. Going back to class requires attention (probably more than before) and letting go of old habits. The body is most likely in a new place and a new state. Overworking and forcing the body into positions will only go so far. If needed, start with a simple class and work your way up. Do non-dance activities in between dance classes to feel prepared mentally and physically. The hardest thing for dancers is to slow down or acknowledging pain. So, my advice? Keep calm and acknowledge any discomforts.
Until next time, dancers!