All of us admire certain dancers. We emulate them, take workshops from them, and wish to know their “secrets.”
But you know what that secret is? Doing the work.
Taking regular classes. Practicing good technique (not just “drilling”—one can drill poor technique). Challenging yourself every time you step into the studio. Attending workshops as a supplement to your regular practice instead of in lieu of it. Taking care of your body to prevent fatigue or injury. Staying in a workshop even when you’re feeling burnt-out (sitting on the side and watching still counts). Attending classes that you might think are below your skill level. Attending Western dance classes to polish your body line. Studying other dance forms to enrich your movement vocabulary. Finding performance opportunities to improve your connection to the audience and stage presence. Practice practice practice.
That’s it. That’s the secret. There is no magic… and yet regular, consistent, and devoted practice is the magic. Leaving the rest of your life outside the studio walls and taking your place in front of the mirror with reverence and mindfulness. Some people wish to perform “devotional dance,” but for me, the devotion is in the day-to-day, in showing up for class, and doing my warm-up. That is my ritual. That is my practice.
Any long-time yogi will tell you the exact same thing. Any writer, painter, Olympic athlete, seamstress, wine-maker, chef, or architect. But no one will tell you that it’s easy…. and no one will tell you that it isn’t worth the time or energy.
Practice practice practice.