A Look Back and Leaping Ahead….

Ready, set go into a new year! January is a time where people reflect about the year behind them, and begin planning what they want 2019 to look like. It is no different as a dancer or a dance teacher. You should take some time this month to look at how far you have come and what you need to do to improve.

Taking a look back…. Often we are so busy pushing ourselves to the next level that we forget to look back at how far we have come. I do this myself in life. Did I accomplish the things I wanted, was I organized, did I give my ballet students enough, was I strict enough, am I the best parent I can be, daughter, sister and friend? When you take some time to really sit back and look, you become aware of the mountains you have moved. Life is constantly throwing obstacles in our way, this is what makes us grow. So take a moment to look back at all that you accomplished as a dancer/dance teacher this year. Write it in a journal, diary, special notebook or even keep it in the notes of your phone. When you are having a down moment look back at it, this will help remind you of how far you have come and how much potential you have.

Kelli wins for 2018 – a little inspiration

  • Started taking more classes as a teacher to learn and grow.
  • Took class at Balletmet – Columbus Ohio
  • The Edge – Los Angeles
  • Broadway Dance Center – New York City
  • Joffrey – Chicago
  • Met the Art and Marketing Director of Joffrey and got a personal tour. exchanged info.
  • Mentored by Elaine Spielberg from Balletmet over dance barre work
  • Created a Ballet pedagogy with the help of Elaine Spielberg.
  • Got to know Michael Cussamano, taking class and assisting him. And we are friends now….
  • Totally out of my comfort zone took class with Mia Michaels at 42..
  • Took a million yoga classes, and a few pilates classes
  • I loved my dances last year and love my song choices for this year.
  • Changing up barre work more often and students are getting much better at picking up barre quickly and easily.
  • More creativity in my barre work
  • Feel organized
  • Great support staff to my busy life and work travel
  • This dance Twirl blog
  • Lots of big ideas
  • Saw Hamilton, Waitress, Book of Mormon, Little Mermaid, Dear Evan Hansen, several BalletMet performances, Pink and the Edge scholarship performance. (All give context and inspiration)

It actually is fun to go through the process of all your wins, and you will always have more than you thought you did. Ask your teachers, what wins they think you had in 2018. They might have seen something in you, you didn’t see yourself. Also ask them what they believe you can improve on and where you should focus. Talking to your teachers will show you care, you want more and your intentions for 2019.

Leaping ahead….. Now that we have taken a look at 2018 it is time to look forward, time to MOVE ahead. I think it is best to break this down so you can think of the different elements of dance. Look at each and write down what you really want to work on in these areas. If possible include dates. If you have a time frame you want to get a specific movement, trick or stretch it will push you harder and give you a real goal to work for.

  • Flexibility –what can you improve and how will you do this?
  • Strength- where are you at and how will you build strength and endurance – Cross training
  • Musicality – Timing and the ability to count different types of music
  • Emotion/ performance – Not only using your face but your entire body, expression and performing. This is in class and on stage.
  • Tap – What steps, combos and timing should you work on?
  • Jazz- Leaps, turns and all aspects of jazz what can you improve?
  • Ballet- Timing, barrework, center, vocabulary, dancing the barre.
  • Hip Hop- popping, style, ability to let go ( not a hip hop dancer..)
  • Tumbling – what tricks do you want to have for this year
  • Acrobatic Arts – what level are you at and how will you increase your flexibility and control.
  • Choreography – Are you picking it up and retaining it?
  • Focus – What is your mindset in each class?
  • Body – This is NOT about weight! How do you feel about your body, where you are at, do you feel good and are you taking care of yourself. Nutrition matters, your body is your instrument.
  • Energy level- Do you have energy, how can you increase your energy to get things done in the classroom and out!
  • Inspiration – It is important to network, learn, grow and read about dance. Not just on social media. Go to a performance, a broadway show, read a book, find things that will inspire you in the classroom.

Now you have set goals for things you want to improve this year. Share this with your support system, parents, friends, boyfriend/girlfriend and your teachers. It is hard to attain big goals without the support of people around you. Share your vision and let everyone know what you will be working for in the next year.

How do you keep these goals in the forefront of your mind? Here are some fun ideas so you do not lose site of all the dreaming, plotting and planning you have done.

  • Write all your goals in a journal or an important notebook
  • Email it to your teachers- they want to know and will help you reach your goals.
  • Make a vision board. I am all about an old school poster board with pictures and inspirational words and quotes. This is something you can hang in your room, in your closet. You can also make a digital version. Save several pins on Pinterest about dance and goals you want to work for. These pictures should be pictures that inspire you. Post it on social, save it as a screen saver on your phone, iPad or laptop. Get creative and have fun with this!
  • Look back at this often… before you go to dance, before you go to bed. These goals do not have to be set in stone, they may change during the year, as you have different experiences, teachers and dances. This is a living, breathing document.
  • Share them with me!!! This may sound silly but I am all in on hearing your goals, helping hold you accountable and cheering you on! All heart and soul send them to… mcvaykelli@gmail.com


Dance Teacher Side Note

Share these ideas with your students. Help them find their wins and plan out what they want to work for in 2019. It will help you teach them, support them and choreograph for each of them. You want dancers that are focused and are intentional as they walk into the classroom. They may need direction, support and guidance to put this in motion. Also do this for yourself as a teacher. Sometimes we are so focused on growing and mentoring our students we forget to stop breathe and take a look at ourselves, how far we have come and where we want to be.

Stop reading we have lots to do… Lots of dreaming, reflecting, writing, planning, sharing, and dancing. So get busy, do it all with heart, focus, drive and perseverance. There are a million people to support you, even some standing in the wings you think aren’t watching, but they are…. they see you and so do I….. I am here always- even if it is behind a computer screen sitting on my bed. You got this and you have 2019….. SO LETS GO!!!!! Love K


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