Training With Purpose

By Brian Henninger.

We all know that the training as a dancer never really ends. You are always honing and polishing your skill set even after you attain a professional level of skill. In fact its not really until you reach this point of having a “Professional”  level of skill that you can really begin diving into who you want to be as a performer and artist. In your dance training it is important to have regular classes that you are consistently taking but we all get to a point where the same class just doesn’t naturally challenge us like it used too. This is the point where most dancers will change it up and start venturing out to other classes. While I always recommend to have a variety of classes you take, it can also be a great opportunity for more growth to continue in the same classes but give yourself some specific challenges to work on individual parts of your learning process. I have included a few tips and tricks to throw in while you are taking your normal classes to spice things up and throw in some new challenges.

Be a “Floater” in class: Do you always take class in the exact same spot of the room? ( Its totally ok if you do,  I do too 🙂 ). Maybe its time to switch it up. Try taking class from a totally different area of the room. In fact, intentionally make it as hard as possible for yourself to see the teacher and work on picking up the steps from that vantage point. After all, NO audition that you ever go too is going to provide you with a totally comfortable learning experience. Use class to make yourself uncomfortable so you are better equipped when it actually counts! Sometimes I will take class and go to the front, then the back, and finally somewhere in the middle where I am cramped. This forces me to not make excuses as to why I am having issues picking up choreography because I have worked on learning it from the most compromising circumstances.

Ask if you can start learning with a “handicap”: This basically means that you can ask the instructor if its ok if you start learning the choreography after they have already started teaching for 5, 10, or even 15 minutes. This forces your brain to quickly play catch up while the teacher is already moving ahead. Being able to retain choreography being taught while still catching up and learning what you missed by just watching is a great skill to hone. It will come in handy in absolutely any audition situation but also it will make your mind sharper to pick up on last minute changes on a job. I have been backstage 10 mins prior to showtime learning completely new staging and choreography and then stepping on lIVE television and performing. This is a just a fact of life for a dancer. The quicker you can get to the point of having little to no issues with choreography pickup and retention the quicker you can move to really embodying the movement, and performing it!

There are several other ways to spice up your class experience: from working on your audition looks and trying them out in class, to reversing the choreography for the other side after class is over, all of these things will help your bottom line as a performer.  step outside of your box and try one of these tactics in your next class!  \\

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