So, content creation vs dancing. What do these have in common? Why am I bothering you with it? Well, to tell you the truth, I’ve learned a lot from dance lessons throughout the years, and that knowledge may apply to other areas of life too, including your profession (assuming you aspire to become a pro). If you’re just starting a hobby or a new career path, you’ll want to read this through.
1. It takes time to ace it
At the risk of sounding clichéd, time is one of the things you need to gain knowledge about a subject. No matter which field you plan to plunge into, you have to accept the fact it won’t happen overnight. And this is one of the most important dance lessons I’ve recognized, which is actually pretty obvious. Whether you want to learn to dance, drive a car, speak a foreign language or become a writer, it will take time before you master it. There is no way to obtain the skills and knowledge of a person with ten years’ experience in two weeks. As bad as you wish to nail parking a car on your first try, I’m afraid it won’t turn out how you’d hoped.
Life just doesn’t work that way. Forget about all the ads promising you to become a pro over the weekend. Yes, you can learn a thing or two in a few days but that won’t make you an expert. I’m sorry if I’m bursting your bubble, but nothing beats the truth.
2. It also takes copious amounts of effort and practice
Just like certain wines get better with time, only in the course of several months or years can you fully master a newly developed skill. However, nothing will happen if you just sit and wait for time to pass. You’ve got to act. Let me put it this way: you have to work your arse off! And practice, practice, practice.
In terms of dance lessons, when the new shine* you’ve just been taught seems too difficult to do, the only way to go is to repeat it as many times as necessary until your body gets used to the movement. Not only that, but you should also practice the footwork every so often in the next few months so that it transfers to your long-term memory.
This is it, knowledge should be amassed gradually. If you expect that spending a whole day working on the moves will eliminate the need to attend dance classes over the ensuing week or month, it’s straight up lies you’re feeding yourself. Truth is, if you want to be able to perform a given body movement out of habit, you’ll have to repeat it over and over again for the next couple of months. In small chunks and frequently, rather than all at once. No procrastination or excuses.
It’s the same when it comes to building muscle. You need to dedicate an adequate amount of time working out each and every week for an indefinite period. And if you want to preserve muscle, you’ll have to keep training and eat the right kind of food before and after you reach your goal.
*(a synonym of footwork) In salsa and bachata, this term relates to the position of the feet and the general foot action
3. You should let new information settle into your body (and mind)
In between dance lessons, you should also provide enough rest time for the new information to come together in your subconscious. The latter is a place where new ideas are incubated and where things you’ve learned are brought together. The subconscious runs in the background just like certain drivers and programs on your computer when you turn it on. You know they are there, but you can’t see them. Yet, they play a huge role in the performance of your machine.
So, let’s assume you have decided to learn some new movements, a shine per day, for two weeks in a row. On the first couple of days you are likely to be full of energy and excited to get things going. The footwork will feel like a walk in the park. You’ll quickly overcome the hardest parts. But as the days go by, it may all become a huge mess. You’ll keep mixing the different pieces you’ve been studying during the dance lessons. Not to mention, you may find it hard to focus properly or remember the combinations, even though they might be as easy as tearing flower petals off.
Remember what I said about chunking? When you attempt to do it all at once, you are doomed to fail. And this is where you should consider giving yourself a generous rest to allow enough time for what you’re learning to stir around on your mind.
4. Yet, you’ll be surprised how quickly you forget what you’ve learned once you stop taking dance lessons
Undoubtedly, mastering a skill takes much more effort, practice, and time than un-mastering it. In fact, you can lose your “super powers” in a flash, which can steadily get you back to square one. The brutalities of life. One day you are beyond confident in yourself, feeling and breathing the gratifying pleasure of the accomplishments you’ve made over time.
And then—boom!— something happens that keeps you from taking dance lessons for a while. Before you know it, you forget the ins and outs of the thing you were so good at. And guess what? You suddenly begin to feel like a complete novice again – tremendously insecure and unconfident. The movements that you knew off pat may now feel weird, unfamiliar and even scary. And when you add the rhythm of the music to the equation, it becomes impossible to achieve. It’s so terrifying that it stresses you out, sending dreadful shivers down your whole spine.
Panic-stricken and shocked, you start wondering what has changed. Forcing your body to do the now-old movements gets you nowhere. You want to bring back the faith you recently had in yourself, but it doesn’t work. It won’t work! Despite the humble person that you are, you catch yourself cursing. Sweat starts dripping over your body and, little by little, your heart fills with anger. There is only one question on your mind: How is it that just yesterday you were among the pros at the club where dance lessons are held, but today there doesn’t seem to be a single piece of evidence of your incredible talent?
This may happen when you quit dance classes for a couple of months or more. And no, it doesn’t really matter that you have spent ten years on developing that skill. Once you stop feeding your talent, improving your skills or just practicing, that’s it, my dear. The longer you stay away from it, the more difficult it will get for you to pick up from where you left off.
5. Finally, if you yearn to succeed, you have to develop and improve multiple skills at a time
In terms of dance lessons, here are the skills that I’ve had to develop and master throughout the years to become really good at it:
- Following the lead
- Lady styling
- Spinning techniques/turn patterns
- Balance and coordination/body posture
So, if I was to focus on lady styling solely, now I would be placing my hands very gracefully in the air and moving my body elegantly at all times. However, I wouldn’t be able to keep my balance for I would be deficient in spinning technique. Not to mention, I’d be incapable of following my partner, condemning the dance to failure from the very start.
On the flip side, if I focused entirely on the following part, I would be a terrific girl to share a song with because, after all, the main idea of a partner dance is to move in a coordinated manner with one another, no pressure or fighting. But lacking spinning technique and coordination, I’d lose balance on every turn, slowing the dance and ridiculing myself. That’s why it is best to work on all the skills simultaneously.
What are the things you need to be good at in your profession? My suggestion is to find those, if you still haven’t, and swing into action. There is no better day than today.
Dance lessons gave me vital knowledge about life that will stay with me forever. I learned that there are no shortcuts to mastering a subject and that a variety of elements are required in order to become irresistibly good at what you are doing. Things like hard work, persistence, patience, and constant desire for improvement, as trite as they may sound, all play a role in achieving your goals.
I hope I’ve given you enough to chew on.
Do you agree that these lessons may as well apply to your profession or anything that you want to be an expert at? I’m curious to know what you think. Hit the comments section to let me know.
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