Dance Plateau

It’s been a crazy couple of months, I scarce know where to begin.  In the past year I have:Moved up a division.Trained my first serious competitors.Ended a dance partnership.Moved to a new state.Started teaching for a new studio.Returned to teaching dance full time.Started with a new coach.Found a new dance partner.

Crazy, neh?  I could do a post on any of these but rather than toot my own horn, I want to address an issue some of my students have been discussing recently, many of them without even realizing they were discussing it.  What happens when we stop improving?

I, and they, don’t mean when one stops trying to improve, but what happens when the work one is putting in stops yielding results?  What should be our response when we realize our dancing isn’t getting better, when we’re not any closer to our goals?  This can mean one doesn’t feel the dancing changing, competition results that remain consistent event after event, hearing the same feedback over and over again from one’s teachers, or any other sign of stagnation.  It’s a frustrating experience to say the least and it’s one every dancer faces.

In my experience, dance skill is built up in a very specific ways.  It would be nice to think of one’s dancing improving consistentl


We don’t continuously get better at dancing, although that is the effect over time.  Rather, it goes in very productive spurts followed by long plateaus. This can be very frustrating, especially since all of us have been conditioned from when we started dancing to expect rapid improvement.  Yes, all of us, even those of us who don’t think of ourselves as fast learners.  The reason is our improvements early on are very dramatic.  The difference between being able to dance and not being able to dance at all is tremendous.  Having even one figure that one stumbles through is still an enormous improvement over not being able to dance anything.  Early lessons focus on big things that effect all of dancing: foot positions, basic timing, frame, and lead and follow can all be learned in a surprisingly short period of time.

Once we acquire those basic techniques we tend to hit our first plateau as the dancer gets accustomed to being able to dance, but this is a very brief period for most dancers as they continue their education.  Usually it is new, more elaborate patterns, that brings them into the next period of improvement, from which they develop more technique.  This is usually a fun, creative period that most students love, but it tends to forever color what they expect from themselves and dancing.  Unfortunately, at some point the student tends to become saturated with figures and simply can’t learn anymore while he or she processes and practices.  This is the next plateau and the one that tends to stick out in most students’ minds.

What breaks the student out of this plateau varies considerably.  Good instructors steer their students to areas that will help them improve faster, but even after breaking through the student tends to hit plateaus again and again, each one taking longer and longer to break through.  If this sounds like you, I have good news:

There are a any number of ways to break through plateaus.  I didn’t get a chance to mention working with teams, clothing, shoes, dancing in new venues, changing teachers, increasing private lessons, dance camps, professional certification, or other wonderful ways to shake things up.  It almost doesn’t matter.  The point isn’t how one shakes up one’s dancing, but rather that the dancing is shaken up.  Try something different, you may be surprised what happens.

One of the things that’s been so gratifying about my move to this new studio is how much changing my surroundings has affected my dancing.  Suffice it to say, the difference has been tremendous.  How are you going to shake up your dance world? - หมวดหมู่ บริการมืออาชีพ