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The Importance of Focus in Your Dancing

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All dancers have heard of it at some point, and I think it is safe to say that all dancers have struggled with it as well…..FOCUS.

Focus can only be achieved when you know what your goal is. That is especially important in dancing. Whether you are a brand new social dancer trying to focus on the counts in Foxtrot, a wedding couple, Pro/Am competitor or a professional dancer.

To make the most out of your dance lessons, go into each one with ‘intention’. If you are saying to yourself “wait! I am only doing this for fun! I don’t want to make it too serious” focus is still a useful tool that will help you enjoy both your lessons and your general dancing more. If you are eager to practice, perform or compete, than all that is left is to figure out what your specific goals are and then start focusing on them!

Tips for the social dancer:

-Focus on music and practicing the steps your teacher has given you. Whether you only know 2 or 3 steps or 10 or 15, as a social dancer, it is most important to be ‘in the moment’ and be able to lead/follow, listen to the music, and above all have fun while dancing. Yes, this takes focus too=)

Tips for the wedding couple:

-Focus on each other, especially if you have only a few lessons between now and your big day. Staying in time with each other, focusing on staying together even when one of you misses a step is the key. Whether you have only a few lessons under your belt and simple steps or have spent months preparing an amazingly special choreographed dance, you will thank yourselves for focusing on each other the day of.

Tips for the Pro/Am competitor or serious dancer:

-Go into each lesson with a small goal. For example, focus on knowing your timing for your dance. This is especially important if you are the follower. It can be easy to fall into ‘just letting the man lead’ only to realize you have no idea what your own timing is! If arms in Rumba are a trouble spot or alignments in Waltz or Foxtrot concentrate on that. You’ll realize that once you take your lessons into your own hands, your progress will move faster leaps and bounds.

-PRACTICE. Don’t let all of that hard work in your lessons go to waste. Come in 15 – 20 minutes before your lesson or stay after your lesson to reinforce what you are working on.

Tips for Professional or Amateur couples:

– Whether you practice 2 hours or 8 hours a day, time is not as important as productivity. Decide together what you want to focus on for the day, timing, footwork, run-throughs, movement, connection, musicality you name it. Then, make your practice about that one theme. This can help you, as a couple, develop a deeper understanding of where each other is coming from. You see this in the top couples when their connection just seems spot on. Believe it or not, they probably spent months if not years working on it. This will definitely shine through when it comes time to perform. Keep each theme for a few days in a row, or alternate them. As long as you go into each practice with a goal and a focus, improvement is inevitable.

Until next time!

-Teresa Travis-

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