The start of the New Year seems to be the time people are making resolutions and setting goals for themselves for the year ahead.  Most of us are suckers for this trend, and I think it’s not at all a bad thing to do, but this year in order to achieve my goals, I’m going to set ones that I can measure. Then come December 2014, I can look back and see my progress instead of thinking Oh no, I didn’t achieve last year’s resolutions again!

This year I have decided to set goals that will keep me inspired and help me to continue to grow and develop in my dancing. I think it’s really important as a dancer to never get complacent and think you know it all. It is our job to always be adaptable and to be able to mold ourselves into new styles and try new things.

Dance to me, is a constant strive for perfection.

No-one is perfect. So therefore no-one can ever stop working to improve their dancing or for teachers and choreographers to improve their knowledge.  Be it your performance, your musicality, your technique, there is always more to give, more to discover, more to find and accentuate in the music, more, more, MORE!

Personally, I am trying to come to terms with my body as an experienced dancer, and am trying to accept certain limitations and changes as I get older. I need to learn what things I can keep pushing hard at and where to accept things. This for me is a delicate balance because I do get very frustrated when I find out certain things about my body. For example, my spine has much less range of movement now in my 30’s that it did when I was a teenager, and often I find myself in class feeling very frustrated when I’m working away on my Arabesque line and it feels so much stiffer and more difficult to display that lovely line of the back and leg behind me.

Part of this I need to accept is the fact that my spine has aged along with me, and yes it is getting more difficult as I get older. The other part of this I need to accept is the fact that I need to spend more time outside the class, working on the flexibility of my spine and the strength of my back to get the best line possible out of what is available to my body.

I’m not going to simply give up because I have a challenge presented to me.

I’m going to accept that challenge, be realistic, and still work very hard to squeeze the most out of it.

I’m not going to think that just by going to class I am doing enough. Now I need to put the time in when I am at home, or at the gym, and do some extra strengthening exercises myself. I need to get my butt to Yoga class regularly, I need to stretch, I need to work on it.

This is the kind of attitude that I see in other successful professional dancers, know that if you have a ‘problem’ or a ‘weakness’ that you need to work on it yourself. Don’t wait for your teacher or your choreographer to say something about your dancing. Think about something you know you want to be better and go for it yourself. Do some research, get to a different class, find a new exercise, listen to new music, watch more dancing, do whatever it takes to make yourself a better artist.

What’s your 2014 challenge going to be, and how are you going to measure it?