By Anna Mie Skovdal.
You are dancing to your heart’s content, learning, progressing, evolving as a dancer. You feel great, your motivation is at an all-time high. And then suddenly you hit the wall. Your learning curve flatlines. Even though you learn a new move, it makes no difference to your dancing. You are stuck. Maybe you should just quit altogether…
Sound familiar? Don’t worry. We’ve all been there and will probably find ourselves there again. A learning curve is never a straight line. Sometimes it’s steep as Mount Everest, at other times it flattens to a plateau. It’s frustrating and demotivating when that happens, but there are several things that you can do to beat the plateau.
Social dance, social dance, social dance
Social dancing is what swing dancing is all about. So get out there on the social dance floor and remind yourself why you started dancing in the first place!
Classes are great, and for many of us they are a necessity, but social dancing is where you learn the really powerful stuff: connection with various partners and with the music. It’s where you get the best inspiration by looking at and enjoying real, improvised social dancing.
Go back to basics
If you feel that you are stagnating in your dancing, the best way to ensure overall progress is to go back to working on your basic technique. It’s something that we must all return to from time to time, no matter how advanced we become.
Practise swingouts, connection, frame and bounce. Consider asking a teacher or a couple of teachers for a private lesson focusing on basic technique. One private can often be the progression equivalent of several months of regular classes.
Take up solo jazz
You might think that solo dancing is not your thing, that you’re more into partner dancing. Think again.
Solo jazz is fun and challenging in its own right, but more importantly, it has the added bonus of improving your overall dancing skills:
You learn to listen and react to the music, you learn to control the movement of your own body without having to worry about connecting with a partner, and you get a whole string of cool, musical footwork variations to throw in to your partner dancing.
If you’ve hit that learning plateau, don’t despair. Try these remedies, give it time, and soon your learning curve will pick up again.
What are your best tips for beating the plateau and regaining your dance motivation?
On the same side note than solo jazz, I started to tap dance, discovered other rhythms in my body and this has changed my Lindy. Teaching is also a great way to stay motivated.