Happy New Year!

Most common question of the day,  “what resolutions did you make?”

Most common response to this question a month from now is, “Resolutions?  Oh riiiiigggght…”

Instead of creating a list of resolutions that most often support unrealistic expectations I suggest that this is a time to reflect on the past year – on both our successes and our failures – give ourselves a collective pat on the back for being awesome and then make a list (mental or otherwise) of those things in life, in dance and in ourselves, for which we are grateful.


“The miracle of gratitude is that it shifts your perception to
such an extent that it changes the world you see.”
— Dr. Robert Holden

Let’s break this down to the dance studio…


Before you step back into the studio consider the impact that dance has had on your life, and on you.   Has it had an affect on how you live?   Your view of the world?   How much joy does dance bring to each day?  What would your life, your day, be like without it?

In dance we often focus our energy on what needs to be improved, striving for that ever elusive perfection.  Today, take a moment to appreciate & acknowledge what you have accomplished.    What are your strengths?   Have you accomplished a step you never though you would be able to perform?  Have you learned a new role?   Have you performed something new or more often than you’d expected?

Thinking specifically about the role of dance in your life,

for what are you most grateful?


My challenge to you on this first day of 2013 is to live life, and dance, through the perspective of gratitude.   Begin each day and each step into the studio holding gratitude for the gift of dance in each breath you give to each movement and to each note which inspires you to dance.

To kick off this challenge, take a moment (in the comment section below) to let us all know what you are most grateful for in dance.  Let’s get some collective gratitude started for 2013!


Wishing you all the best for your best year yet!


Empowering Progress



Now that we are all fully into our new schedules for the year, getting used to new classes, students, and teachers,  its time to think about those goals again.  Goal setting can be an effective tool for building habits of excellence in our dance training and teaching, instilling positive habits which will foster the achievement of our goals and ultimate success in dance, and life!

Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.  (Aristotle)

In our last newsletter Aman discussed the importance of goal setting and the differences between short term and long term goals.     He discussed several different types of goals including:

  • Dream Goals
  • Realistic Goals
  • Goals of Self-Acceptance
  • State-of- Mind Goals
  • Focus Goals
  • Daily Goals

Each of these are functional and can be incorporated into your/your childs training, and your teaching.   There are some general guidelines to follow when goal setting, you may have heard of them before – SMART goals.

S is for Specific

  • Be specific and clear about what you want to accomplish.

M is for Measurable

  • Form your goals in measurable ways, this will help to give you an objective perception of whether or not you have accomplished your goal.

A is for Action Oriented

  • What actions are required of you to achieve this goal?   What can you do to work towards your goal?  Do you need to enlist the help of  a friend/parent/teacher?

R is for Realistic

  • Set goals that are realistic for you, at this point in time in your training and life.  If its too easy – you may not have the motivation to reach it as you will achieve the goal to quickly.  If its too hard – you may lose confidence in your abilities as it will take longer and require more effort to achieve the goal.

T is for Timely

  • Set a specific timeline for the goal to be accomplished.   You may feel that some goals need to be accomplished in 1 or 2 months, and some perhaps 6 or 9 months.
  • Short term goals are helpful as they can keep you motivated AND be the stepping stones to achieving your long term goals.


Students and Parents:

Working together to form a set of goals for the dance season can be a great way to guide your dance student through the dance year, as well as a way to touch base with them regarding how they see their role within the dance community.  Perhaps this year they are focused on a specific exam or performance, or maybe their focus has changed to the pursuit of a career in dance.   We encourage you to take an active role in your child’s goal setting process and achievement in dance.


Goal setting in the studio can be a useful tool for both you and your students.  Goals can be written down and reviewed from time to time throughout the year providing students with a more tangible way to assess their progress. Students can often have an all or nothing attitude about goals,  with your guidance students can come to understand that striving for goals is a process – just like developing our strength, flexibility, and technique.  Process takes time, and patience.

If Aristotle was correct in declaring excellence as a habit, then exploring the process of goal setting with your child/your students is a positive step towards building (training)  positive habits which empower the student dancer to take an active role in their progress in the studio, on the stage, and in life.

Now its your turn…

Students: Do you set goals for yourself during the dance season?  For school?  What has worked for you?

Teachers: Do you set goals with your students?  For yourself?  What has worked for you?


Author:  Jacqui Davidson

Note:  This post has been entered in the Dance Advantage Circle Time!