In any dance class you take, no matter what level you are at, you are guaranteed to get corrections from your instructor. Corrections help dancers focus their attention on aspects of their dancing they may not have even known they needed to think about. You may hear things like “keep your shoulders down” or “don’t sickle your feet” which help you fix your alignment which can be crucial in injury prevention. You might also hear corrections that address aspects of movement and performance, such as “use more resistance in your movement” or “keep your eyes up”. As the corrections pile up it can start to feel overwhelming. There is a lot to think about all the time, but it is important to be proactive about taking and applying corrections to get the most out of each class. Here are three things you can do to make the most of your corrections:
Keep a notebook in your dance bag
At the end of each class pull out your notebook, reflect on what corrections you were given, and write them down. Before each class, look over your corrections from the previous class and think about how you are going to apply them (more on this later). Not only does keeping a journal help with remembering corrections from class to class, it also gives you a way to see your progress. You can see which corrections you are receiving over and over again and really focus on fixing them.
2. Set a goal for each class
When you are looking over your notebook at what corrections you got in the previous class, pick one thing you want to focus on correcting in the class ahead of you. Take that correction with you throughout the entire class. There will be other things to think about like the combination, and of course new corrections, but by keeping one correction in your mind throughout the class you can keep reminding yourself to fix it until it starts to become a habit you no longer think about. It can take a while to really get in the habit of applying a correction, so be patient with yourself, but be persistent and make it a goal for as many classes in a row as it takes to get it down.
As hard as it is to think about a correction while dancing, it can be even harder to actually make the physical change to your alignment or movement. When you set your goals before class, take time to visualize what applying the correction will look like on your body. Let’s say for example your correction is to keep your shoulders down. Visualizing this could mean visualizing yourself doing the combinations in your head and paying extra attention to your shoulders being down and how that might look and feel. You could also actually stand in front of the mirror and raise and lower your shoulders in different positions and pay attention to how it looks and feels.
These three tips can help you be more intentional in your dance classes, and that will go a long way in your dance career. Always remember corrections are essential in dance, so don’t let them frustrate you, but instead use them as a tool to grow as a dancer. And don't forget to say "thank you" whenever you're given a correction, accepting your corrections with grace not excuses.