I love dancing, it’s my life and it’s who I am. I will never regret my decision of dedicating my life to dance but sometimes it is easy to lose direction, inspiration and motivation (I am human guys hehe!) As an artist it’s so important to feel inspired or “switched on” so that the performances we give can be something to be remembered, but what do we do if we simply just don’t feel like doing it? I’ve been in that boat more than once believe me and what I’ve found is that it’s important to firstly figure out why you feel this way and then to try to find solutions to get that fire burning again! Oh and for those of you dance junkies out there that never tire of dancing or anything to do with it (my boyfriend/dance partner included) then this may not really apply to you!! You lucky things 😉
First off, figuring out why you don’t want to put your dance shoes on. Ask yourself am I tired? I don’t mean “Oh I had a late night last night” tired, I mean like yeah I’ve done 6 comps in the last two months or I can’t remember the last time I had a day off. Sometimes the monotony of going into the studio or dancing competitions can be just as tiring mentally as it is physically. If I don’t take one full day off in at least a fortnight then I know I will start to resent the studio. This then leads to blurry practices with no real plan or path. It’s all too easy to go into auto pilot and just dance around with no purpose. Of course it isn’t always feasible to take time off but at least I am aware of it and I try my best! The older and more advanced you get in sport/art (whatever you want to call it!! haha) the more it becomes a mental game rather than something physical. Thats why it’s so important to distinguish between the two.
If you are just tired physically, take a day off, go get a coffee instead. You’re not going to forget everything and it will probably do you more good than going in there slogging away at something you have no desire for. However if it’s more than that and you are a full-time dancer feeling mentally weak then maybe you need to look at scheduling in some PROPER time off. After 11 months of non-stop training and competitions I took a solid week off the other week and I can’t even explain how good for my dancing it was. I came back feeling refreshed and ready to work on improving myself whereas the week before it I felt stale and exhausted. If taking time away from the floor doesn’t work or isn’t the right answer then maybe some visual inspiration is the key..
These days we are so lucky to have the magnificent internet to help us with our dancing woes. You can go on YouTube and find lectures, new routines, lessons on timing, floorshows.. you name it, it’s on there! So, something that works for me on those days before I head into practice, is to watch some dance related videos on the tube as I feel it really gets me inspired to get in there and get working! Some of my favourite ladies to watch are Anne Gleave, Loraine Barry, Charlotte Jorgensen, Alessandra Bucciarelli and Alessia Betti, but there are literally videos of anyone on there! Heck, there’s some embarrassing one’s of me on there too!! So people, if your favourite dancer cant inspire you, nothing can. So get watching!
Another option is to go and watch a live performance. One of our major teachers in the U.K used to always stress to Steve and I that we need to go and watch the Ballet. Not only to see the beauty of their lines in the flesh but also to find inspiration in what they do and bring that into our own performance. Alas, I haven’t been to an abundance of shows but I have been to the ballet a few times and have watched a couple of musicals and circus shows too. It’s a great way of making you appreciate other forms of art and can really give you a new lease on your own style. Ballroom is heavily based around ballet in my eyes so I just love watching the way they move what looks to be so effortlessly, but the dancer in me knows it takes great strength and dedication. Something else I found helpful was to take some lessons in ballet or another dance form. I did ballet for roughly a year or so and it was so interesting to try to find the correlations between the two styles. I loved learning a different form of dance and it was so much fun to try to bring some of the things I had learnt in those lessons into my ballroom practice (TRY being the optimistic word hehe).
The other day Steve and I went to watch the Russian Ballet perform Swan Lake in a theatre close to home. IT WAS AMAZING!! It’s the first time I have ever been lucky enough to watch classical ballet and it was just so breathtaking. Of course there were a few standout performers in there and that’s what I love about dancing is that everyone is so different. It’s all about finding that special something that you love to look at and then letting that inspire you to create your own interpretation/feeling. It definitely had me itching to get back in the studio to improve myself so maybe it might work for you too!?
Lastly, if none of these things work then maybe it’s best to look toward your next goal.. whether it’s a competition, medal day or a floorshow. We start our training leading up to any major comp about a month or so beforehand and I love the feeling of the build up to a big competition. It gives me a clear sight as to what I’m working toward and I can see a finish line. That way I know all this hard work is actually for something too! The body definitely starts to wake up and get excited about the task rather than just slogging away thinking it’s the everyday grind. So try to think of whatever is your next biggie and see that as your major driver everytime you can’t be bothered. Something super important for me is making sure that I am physically fit enough for the comp so that I can show my best dancing. This is why we turn up the heat on our stamina practices a month before the comp and not simply a week before! But horses for courses guys, what works for me might not necessarily be the best option for you so it’s all about being instintive and listening to your body 😉
So if you’re feeling a little blah don’t worry! Because we have all been there 🙂 Maybe give some of these ideas a go and see if they can bring your sparkle back! What are some things you like to do to find motivation/inspiration? Leave me some love below xxx