We asked Sorah Yang to share 3 dance tips to help the community on their journey to becoming beastly dancers. Here’s what she had to say!
1. Take dance class with a purpose.
It’s pretty obvious that you should take more dance class if you want to improve at dancing. However, it’s not just about taking as many dance classes as possible – I’ve personally found that sometimes, quality exceeds quantity when it comes to taking class. Sometimes it’s more effective to take two classes in which you are able to physically and mentally exert yourself 100% in, than to take 5 classes in a day and not be fully focused because you’re too stressed about getting through all of them (and let’s be real, by classes 4 and 5 your brain is toast anyway).
The intention behind what type of class you take is also important. I take certain classes to improve on the following areas: Movement, technique, performance, and retention. Understanding that there are different elements to different classes and taking ones that might help you develop your weaknesses is a good way to grow – even if it means potentially ‘looking bad’ or ‘embarrassing yourself.’
2. Strengthen your Mind & Body.
Just as athletes condition their bodies outside of doing their sport, dancers should also condition their bodies outside of dancing. Dance is a physically demanding activity, and the more in-shape you are, the better you’ll perform. You’ll be less easily fatigued in class and better able to execute when you perform and audition. How do you improve this? Exercise, stretch, eat well, and LISTEN TO YOUR BODY when it’s injured or hurting – it’s okay to take breaks if it means saving your limbs in the long run.
I’ve found dance to be just as mentally stimulating and demanding as it is physically. One of the most common questions I get asked is how to improve choreo pick-up speed. Sometimes, you simply have to take more class to get better at taking class. But oftentimes, people unknowingly build mental blocks that prevent them from improving their retention even if they take billions of dance classes. I’ve found that the more confident you feel going into a class, the better your retention will be, no matter how difficult the combination is. People are so concerned about being perceived as cocky that they’re afraid to build and exude confidence. But do it. It’s necessary, and it will make you a better dancer. I recently read a quote by Pharrell that said “Cockiness is when you believe that no one else in the room is better than you. Confidence is knowing you are better than you were yesterday.” Believe in your talent while maintaining the understanding that you are not better than anyone else. You will only be able to grow to your fullest potential by being confident in what you’re capable of.
3. Stay Inspired.
Sounds simple enough, right? In reality, this is quite possibly the most difficult item on the list. To grow as any type of artist, it’s important to seek inspiration outside of the artform of your focus. Dancing isn’t one-dimensional, and broadening your understanding and appreciation of all art will improve your dancing.
You can also stay inspired by surrounding yourself with the right kind of people. Be around people who motivate you and encourage you to grow. Be around people who inspire you to be the best YOU — so that you will always push YOURSELF to grow. Personally, being inspired by both external and internal factors is what drives me to continue to seek growth.
There’s no set formula to grow as a dancer – find what works for you. Remember that everyone has their own journey, and personal growth is not and should never be a race. Understanding your strengths and weaknesses is crucial. Putting yourself in environments that challenge and almost embarrass you are important to keep you humble, but it’s equally important to put yourself in situations where you thrive so that you can encourage yourself to keep going. This balance of humility and success is so important; too much of either side will either build too much self-hate or too much ego, both of which are likely to stunt your growth.
Also, don’t make excuses as to why you can’t grow in certain areas. For example, I often hear people say they can’t do my choreography because they’re too tall and the only reason why I can move so fast is because my limbs are short. Please watch Tucker Barkley and Laura Edwards dance, and then tell me it’s not possible. You are BOUND to improve unless you set limitations upon yourself.
To dig even deeper, WHY are you trying to grow? What are you trying to prove, and who are you trying to prove this to? Be genuine, authentic, and pure with your intentions. Work hard, be confident, and be honest with yourself — and you will NEVER stop growing.
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