Hello there, dancers and welcome back to From The Top Dance Blog! We are so very excited for today’s blog post! A couple of weeks ago, we announced that we were holding our very first dance Q & A blog post. We asked you all to send in any questions regarding dance thatt you may have wanted our views on and you all did just that! So, once we closed submissions, myself and the rest of the FTT Team came together and picked eight questions from you, our very own From The Top family to included in today’s post! As promised, we have kept everyone completely anonymous for privacy and comfortability. Now, without further ado, let’s get into our Q & A!
Q: What’s the secret to spotting?
A: As I’m sure you know, spotting is the one element in dance that is low-key impossible to get away from. Many people have their own methods to gaining the skill of spotting (even us). However, I would say that the main secret to spotting is to whip your head around as soon as you lose sight of your spot. Letting your head lag a beat behind will definitely keep you from spotting correctly and will make you fall out of a turn almost every time. So when you execute a turn of any kind, as soon as you feel your eyes separating from your spotting point, quickly whip that bad boy around. It’ll make all the difference! I’ll also leave the link to our “Spotting 101” blog post below if you would like even more tips on how to become a lean, mean, spotting machine!
Q: I’m dancing my first solo and while I am excited, I am also SUPER nervous. How can I get rid of my anxiety?
A: Oh yes, I’ve been here before. The honest truth is, dancing a solo for the first time is always a bit nerve wracking because of the realization that all eyes will be on you. However, though the dynamics may seem different than dancing with a group, they are actually very much so the same. You’re still on stage, as usual doing what you love. Though you expressed your nerves in the matter, you also expressed your excitement and by all means, make a conscious effort to give more mental energy to that excitement r ather than the anxiety . This is your very first solo and that is a HUGE new accomplishment in your journey as a dancer! Also, don’t worry about messing up. The probability of messing up is in no way increased just because you’re dancing alone. Just continue to practice to ensure that you will put your very best on stage, go out there and live your best life. Enjoy the moment and I promise that once you dance solo once, you’re definitely going to want to do it again. I’m very proud of you and I wish you the best of luck!
Q: How can I improve my turn out? I have problems with my left side. A: Improving your turn out can be done by doing three things:
1. Working on your hip flexibility .
2. Working on your hip strength.
3. Turning out from your hips rather than your feet.
We all have one side that is more cooperative than the other and the left is definitely my difficult side as well. So, as you work to improve the three things listed above, just be sure to show that left side a little extra love. I’ll link our “Improving Turn Out” blog post below for the perfect stretches and exercises that will produce amazing results, fast!
Q: Any tips on how to balance your dance career, college AND a personal life?
A: Ooh, this question hits close to home and let me tell you, I’ve been there, I’ve done that and here is what I learned. Having both an active career and being a college student is a full time job, even when it’s part time. How I best managed this challenge when I was going through this period in my life is that I simply had to be realistic with what was important to me, which is my dance career and my education. Above all else, these two subjects garnered my attention the most at the time. I kept a daily planner all throughout my college years and I scheduled all things dance business around my college class schedule. However, at the same time, I always listened to my mind and my body, and made sure that I never put more on myself than I could handle. This is what truly got me through this balancing act. However, though your career and school is important, everyone needs time to relax and unwind with family, friends or even alone. So don’t skip out on those opportunities to go out and have a good time. It truly helps keep your mind fresh and renewed. So, keep goals in sight, focus locked in, always be responsible and you’ll be okay!
Q: Is there any age that is considered “too old” to start dancing?
A: Honestly, no. Not at all. When you hear dancers say that dance is for everyone, we truly mean it. I recently saw a video online about an elderly widow, who had just lost his wife and to cope with the loss and help fill his idle time, he enrolled in an adult ballet class. It was the most beautiful video I have ever seen! If your heart’s in it and you really want to dance, by all means go for it. Young, middle aged or elderly, there’s always room here in the dance world for you.
Q: How can I increase my musicality? I tend to miss counts at times.
A: Sense of musicality is something that varies from dancer to dancer. Some have a strong knowledge of musicality natural while others may have to work on it a bit. And if you do have to put a little more effort into it, that’s okay! One of the best ways that I have found to improve musicality is to change the way you listen to music. Make a conscious effort to train your ear to hear all the small beats, details and nuances of whatever song you’re listening to. Seeing as though a lot of choreographers like to play on those small details (including myself), sharpening your ear to those said details will overall help you hear them naturally in music all the time. Then you will be able to kiss those days of missed counts goodbye!
Q: I stretch frequently but still I’m having problems getting my kicks higher.
A: This has been a very frequently asked question. The lack of height in your kicks could come from one, if not both of two things:
1. You aren’t engaging the correct muscles when you kick.
2. You may be lacking a bit of leg strength .
When you execute a high kick, be sure to lift the leg from the hamstring rather than the quad. Also, be sure to use the floor to push that leg off the ground and into the air. This what’s going to create the moment to get your kick nice and high. I recently explained this tip to someone in a private class that I taught. They compared using the floor in a kick to an airplane taking off and frankly I couldn’t agree more. Use the floor as the “runway” and lift your foot and leg (aka the “plane”) high into the air. Lastly, while flexibility is very important in high kicks, leg strength is it’s equal counterpart. Try doing exercises like lunges, squats and releves to get your legs nice and strong!
Q: Hi Lexi and the rest of the From The Top team! A few of my students are struggling with their confidence. How can I as a teacher help them get past this?
A: Hi there! Self confidence is something that all dancers battle with at some point or another and as a teacher, it is so natural for you to want to take that away and make it all better. The growing and development of a dancers self confidence comes simply by experience. Things like dance performances, reaching their personal dance goals, conquering a move they have been working on, etc., Where we as teachers come into play in all of this is that we are the source of encouragement. Every time they say that they “can’t” do something, always reassure them that they indeed can . Also, never shun away from challenging them, even when they think they can’t do it. Challenge them (within reason of course) and work with them to beat those challenges. This will show them just how capable of amazing things they truly are and in result, boost their self confidence as dancers and artists!
A huge thank you to everyone who sent in questions and if you didn’t see your question in this particular post, don’t worry! This isn’t a one time thing! We’ll be hosting another dance Q & A in the very near future. We hope you all have a fabulous weekend and we’ll see you next time!