Dancing – especially choreographing, is just as much of a mental endeavor as it is a physical one.

Yet we get so caught up in how to train our bodies or what pictures to hit, that we often find ourselves in motivational slumps…

Luckily, TED offers a host of interesting, powerful, and inspiring talks from people of all backgrounds and experiences!

Here is a curated a list of 11 talks that will open your eyes, inspire you, encourage you, or make you laugh.

They will push you to be a better thinker, doer, and mover.

Curious? Good.

Read through each talk and click if it entices you.

And if you liked it, share it!

1. Everyday Leadership, Drew Dudley

Description:

We have all changed someone’s life — usually without even realizing it.

In this funny talk, Drew Dudley calls on all of us to celebrate leadership as the everyday act of improving each other’s lives.

How it relates to you:

We need to be empowered, and recognize the value in every day actions that make you a leader.

It doesn’t matter where you are in team, in community, in your dance journey- we all have the power to affect positive change, and reversely, to let other people know if they have affected you positively.

Favorite quote:

We need to get over the fear of how extraordinarily powerful we can be in each others’ lives..

See Related Articles:

How To Lead Your Dance Team More Effectively

Dance Leadership Tools From Anna Sarao & Arnel Calvario (Presented at H4 by CSLA)

2. A Choreographer’s Creative Process in Real Time, Wayne McGregor

Description:

We all use our body on a daily basis, and yet few of us think about our physicality the way Wayne McGregor does.

He demonstrates how a choreographer communicates ideas to an audience, working with two dancers to build phrases of dance, live and unscripted, on the TEDGlobal stage.

How it relates to you:

Witnessing someone explore choreography, or what Wayne McGregor calls “Physical Thinking,” is a very special event.

We freestyle often, but we rarely push the boundaries of grasping choreographic information with our bodies.

These two dancers taking an idea and expressing themselves in such a raw and honest manner will inspire any mover.

Favorite quote:

(By choreographing), You can find out things about your own signature… to misbehave beautifully.

See Related Articles:

How To Choreograph Your First Piece In 6 Simple Steps

4 Ways To Never Get Choreo Block

3. In the Internet Age, Dance Evolves…, The LXD

Description:

The LXD (the Legion of Extraordinary Dancers) electrify the TED2010 stage with an emerging global street-dance culture, revved up by the Internet.

In a preview of Jon Chu’s upcoming Web series, this astonishing troupe show off their superpowers.

How it relates to you:

Yes, they are impressive performers with amazing talent.

But this talk is more social commentary on dance culture as it stood 5 years ago, that address a lot of concepts that are still (or even more) relevant today.

Favorite Quote:

It is insane what dance is right now. Dance has never had a better friend than technology. Dancers have created a whole global laboratory online.

See Related Articles:

How YouTube Gives Artists The Freedom To Showcase Their Work

Marketing Mistakes Dancers Are Making On YouTube

4. Success, Failure, And The Drive To Keep Creating, Elizabeth Gilbert

Description:

Elizabeth Gilbert was once an “unpublished diner waitress,” devastated by rejection letters.

And yet, in the wake of the success of ‘Eat, Pray, Love,’ she found herself identifying strongly with her former self.

With beautiful insight, Gilbert reflects on why success can be as disorienting as failure and offers a simple — though hard — way to carry on, regardless of outcomes.

How it relates to you:

All creatives face the struggle to be creative, stay creative, and renew their creative energy.

If you feel like your skills and products aren’t in your own power- to choreograph, direct, freestyle, anything- listen to this talk to see how this writer kept herself inspired through thick and thin.

Favorite quote:

I would find my resolve always in the same way, by saying, I’m not gonna quit. I’m going home. You have to understand that going home didn’t mean returning to my family’s farm.

For me, going home meant returning to the work of writing because writing was my home.

Because I loved writing more than I hated failing at writing, which is to say that i loved writing more than I loved my own ego, which is ultimately to say, that I loved writing more than I loved myself. Which is how I pushed through…

Your home is whatever in this world you love more than yourself… Your home is that thing to which you can dedicate your energies with such singular devotion that the ultimate results become inconsequential.

See Related Articles:

Quotes To Help You Overcome Your Dance Fears And Live A Creative Life

 

5. How To Build Your Creative Confidence, David Kelley

Description:

Our workplace divided into “creatives” versus practical people?

Yet surely, David Kelley suggests, creativity is not the domain of only a chosen few.

Telling stories from his legendary design career and his own life, he offers ways to build the confidence to create…

How it relates to you:

Have you, for one reason or another, labeled yourself as being not-creative?

I’ve noticed a lot of dancers who started on a team or project, purely following an leader and learning choreography, have a hard time thinking of themselves as competent choreographers.

But the truth is, no one is born NOT creative.

If you find yourself daunted by a process..  saying “I don’t choreograph,” or “I can’t freestyle,” you’re rejecting the possibility out of fear of judgement if you try.

See how it’s possible for anyone to adopt a new attitude or skill set- a theory backed by scientific data.

Favorite quote:

We need to have people realize that they are naturally creative… and to let their ideas fly.

See Related Articles:

How To Dance With More Confidence

6. How Sampling Transformed Music, Mark Ronson

Description:

Sampling isn’t about “hijacking nostalgia wholesale,” says Mark Ronson.

It’s about inserting yourself into the narrative of a song while also pushing that story forward.

In this mind-blowingly original talk, watch the DJ scramble 15 TED Talks into an audio-visual omelette, and trace the evolution of “La Di Da Di,” Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick’s 1984 hit that has been reimagined for every generation since.

How it relates to you:

DJ Mark Ronson “goes awff” on stage, both with his sound board and with his words.

He expresses his thoughts on how sampling is a form of collaboration between artists across generations.

Dancers are obviously inspired by other dancers.

But we are confronted with the fine line between being inspired and imitating directly.

While it’s never encouraged to “take moves” or “bite off” anyone, we should allow ourselves the time to revere in our pioneers’ work.

Then we should challenge ourselves to develop our own perspective of movement using our individual, original ingredients.

Favorite Quote:

We take the things that we love, and then we build on them.

And when we add something significant and original, we have a chance to be a part of the evolution of that music.

See Related Articles:

How To Use SoundCloud To Find Music As A Dancer

7. Dance To Change The World, Mallika Sarabhai

Description:

At TEDIndia, Mallika Sarabhai, a dancer/actor/politician, tells a transformative story in dance — and argues that the arts may be the most powerful way to effect change, whether political, social or personal.

How it relates to you:

Do we, as dancers, as artists, as creators, realize the immense power we have to affect change in the world? Mallika tells insightful, humorous, and relatable stories of the transformative power art has in modern society. Each and every artist who has ever been successful, knows that the way to grow is to believe in your craft, believe it has a bigger purpose. To send a message, evoke a feeling, call to action, entertain… us dancers do have immense potential for good.

Favorite Quote:

In a world that’s so difficult to change, we need a language that pushes through.

See Related Articles:

How Cookies Inspired A Movement In The Dance Community At Vibe

8. My Journey To Yo-yo Mastery, BLACK

Description:

Remember the days you struggled just to make a yo-yo spin, and if you were really fancy, to “walk the dog”?

You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Japanese yo-yo world champion BLACK tells the inspiring story of finding his life’s passion, and gives an awesome performance that will make you want to pull your yo-yo back out of the closet.

How it relates to you:

Upon discovering his passion for yo-yoing, BLACK spent hours and hours daily, for years, developing his craft.

When he started winning competitions and gaining acclaim for his talent, he realized that this wasn’t enough to fulfill him.

He wanted to send a message, to revolutionize how the yo-yo is seen.

This teaches 2 lessons:

The first, is that it takes incredible amounts of work, done in shadows, to reach a level of mastery in anything.

Amazing dancers don’t come moonwalking out of their mother’s womb.

They train.

Second, is that once you have more or less become proficient or even an expert at your passion, think about how to use your voice and position beyond just the passion itself.

Favorite Quote:

I wanted to change the public’s image of the yo-yo.

So I quite my company and studied a career as a professional performer.

I studied ballet, classic jazz dance, acrobatics, and other things, to make myself better.

 

9. Smash Fear, Learn Anything, Tim Ferriss

Description:

From the EG conference: Productivity guru Tim Ferriss’ fun, encouraging anecdotes show how one simple question — “What’s the worst that could happen?” — is all you need to learn to do anything.

How it relates to you:

Is there something keeping you from going for what you want?

Tim Ferriss learned how to swim, lived abroad, and delved into ballroom dancing by having a fearless attitude.

Stop second-guessing yourself and take on your next project fearlessly.

Favorite Quote:

Fear is your friend.

Fear is an indicator.

Sometimes, it shows you what you shouldn’t do.

More often than not, it shows you what you should do.

*From the dance community!*

10. Not Another Cancer Story, Brianna Mercado

Description:

At only 22-years-old, Mercado lives by the personal credo “Go big.”

A professional dancer with two college degrees, she has survived bone cancer and works tirelessly as a role model for children with cancer and as an advocate for cancer study, treatment and prevention.

Mercado is a native Californian, living and dancing in New York City.

She is admired by family, friends and fellow dancers as a warm and glowing soul who has lived more intensely, intentionally, gratefully and lovingly in the past eight years than most people live in a lifetime.

How it relates to you:

Brianna’s powerful interpretive performance transcribes her words and feelings into movement.

Words and feelings about her illness, something that potentially had the power to break her spirit.

Yet, she chose to face her biggest fear with grace and optimism.

She refused to let any event steal her light.

Only 22 years old at the time of the talk, but with experiences and wisdom beyond her years, Brianna’s strength and expression is enough to bring every dancer to tears.

Favorite Quote:

In the face of something you fear, you must stand up to be brave. Life is too short to live cautiously. You may not be able to control the world but you can control who you choose to be, and what actions to take.

So choose to be something when your life starts to spin. Choose to be patient in times of chaos. Choose to love when all you feel is hate. Choose to be brave at times of great vulnerability. Choose to be something. Choose to be anything. And learn to let go of that voice in your head.

 

11. Battle Mentality in Street Dance, Ben Lee

How it relates to you:

EVERYTHING Ben says will relate, to any dancer.

Not only does he give shoutouts to the “choreo” community (from UCI), he traces the art of dance and battling to its very core.

He talks about knowing the roots of where you come from, the psychology of concepts in a battle, the importance of acknowledging your mentors, having patience to do the work smartly, and the tenants of hip hop and battle culture.

An amazing orator and even more talented dancer, what he shares in this video will make you think a bit deeper, and move a bit more consciously.

Favorite Quote:

Essentially, dance is an expression of my soul… A

ll of my ugliness, all of my truth, everything that I’ve ever thought of, everything that I’ve ever felt, is inherent in my dance.

See Related Articles:

What You Should Know Before Going To A Freestyle Jam

The Fundamental Difference In Attitudes Between The Freestyle And Choreography Communities

 

We hoped these opened up your mind and made you feel more motivated to take on your next dance endeavor!

Do you have any TED Talk recommendations that you think other dancers can benefit from? Comment below and share with us

This article was originally published on September 1, 2015.