S0, 2009 has arrive, but not much has changed in the life of my son, the dancer. He’s back in school and getting ready for midterms. He has to practically ace all his tests to bring up his grades, and he’s facing missing dance for a week at a time if he doesn’t turn in all his work. He’s also back to the grind of weekly dance classes minus Nutcracker rehearsals every Saturday evening and Sunday morning (thank God!). The only other change revolves around Teen Dance Company gearing up for its first big show the last weekend in January. (If you live in the Bay area and want to attend, go to http://www.teendancecompany.org/ to purchase tickets.)
Although I’m (obviously) not a male dancer, I thought now might be an appropriate time to offer up some dance resolutions boys and young men might want to consider taking on for themselves in the New Year. If anyone has any other suggestions, feel free to add them as comments to this post.
10 New Year’s Resolutions for Boys and Young Men Who Dance
- Pick one dance-related issue to focus on in class each week. For example, toe point, hip alignment or use of arms. This helps you improve gradually in many areas without feeling overwhelmed and as if you have to focus on many things at one time.
- Stretch an extra 15 minutes per day, especially the areas of the body that are most problematic. The more stretching you do, the more flexible you become.
- Strengthen feet and ankles using bands and balls. (See article in Dance Teacher magazine written by me!) Your feet and ankles hold your body weight. They have to be strong and supple.
- Take class in an area of dance that is new or in which you need more work. It’s important to become a versatile dancer even if you intend on specializing in one area. Even ballet companies these days are looking for dancers with varied abilities.
- Attend at least eight professional or pre-professional performances over the next 12 months. Watching other dancers not only serves as a motivational took but also helps you realize what you need to work on and improve. Seeing other forms of dance also enlarges your view on the possibilities available to you as a dancer.
- Choreograph a dance. This will give you a new appreciation for choreographers and help you develop an important skill you may find invaluable if you one day cannot dance.
- If you feel uncomfortable about the fact that you are a male dancer, find one strategy for simply telling your peers about your interest and involvement in dance that makes you feel more comfortable or for dealing with being teased or feeling “different.”
- Audition for a part in a dance-related production. You don’t have to even accept the part if offered. You do have to learn how to audition – and how to accept rejection. And if you get the part, you’ll gain performance experience.
- Help another male dancer, especially if he is struggling in any way – emotionally, physically, psychologically -because of his choice to dance. Only guys know what it is like to be a male dancer; help each other out, but don’t force your views (especially sexual views) on anyone else. It’s nice not to feel so alone.
- Simply work harder in class. This means not just waving arms and legs around but really working those muscles! (If you don’t understand the difference, ask your teacher to show you.) Most kids don’t really know how to work hard; they think they are working hard in class, but they really aren’t. Someone has to show them the difference.
Last, but not least: HAVE FUN! Dancing should be fun. My eldest son was home recently and watched Julian during a tap dance rehearsal and commented on how Julian never stopped smiling. We both said we wished we could be that happy doing our jobs. A job dancing can be an awesome thing in that respect. Dancer’s get to do what they love every day and, while it is hard work, they get to enjoy themselves and feel truly fabulous about themselves and the art they produce.