If you don’t, you should — Why exploring our weaknesses can be valuable

A piece of advice for dancers this year: stop saying that you don’t do something. I often hear people say “No I really don’t do [insert style,technique here], it’s not my thing.” If you want to up your game, start with your weaknesses, get rid of the excuses and start doing the things you’ve been avoiding.

I was hard for me to do this at first. I’d say things like, “Yeah I really don’t tut, it’s not a style that I’m into.” Immediately, I felt justified — and even rewarded — for my lack of practice. Who has time to practice that anyway? I had other, more important things to focus on. But after a while, I admitted that my avoidance was driven by fear. I feared starting over and being be bad at something — especially after spending so many years excelling in other areas. But I realized I was crippling my growth. I resolved to practice styles beyond my comfort zone.

Did I become an expert in those areas? Not even close. But the real magic was how much it helped me improve overall as a dancer. Practicing tutting, for example, made me more conscious of my lines, hand placement, and storytelling — concepts I continue to use outside of that particular style.

And don’t worry, I’m not saying spend all your time on things you aren’t good at. But my guess is that right now, you probably aren’t spending any. That needs to change. When I’ve talked to my favorite dancers, it comes as no surprise that they study several disciplines. They might have one area where they are naturally gifted. However, their experiences outside of that style allow them to draw new context and fresh ideas to what they do. And that’s why I’m encouraging you to stop holding back. In exploring your weaknesses, you might find that one thing that will multiply your strengths.

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