I am continually shocked, yes struck down dumbfounded, at the number of dancers who don’t record their training.

 

Whenever a dancer is struggling, plateaued, or looking for tips or ways to improve their dancing, the first question I always ask is “do you record yourself?”

… if the answer is no (or not consistently), this is where we begin…

LISTEN UP: Recording yourself and watching your footage BEFORE YOU SLEEP, EVERY TRAINING is KEY to faster progression and perfecting your form!

When you record your training and watch your movement as soon as possible post-training you help to strengthen body memory. That is our bodies are capable of storing memories of an event within our bodies, not just within our brains. New movements are like short-term memory – they elude us quickly but with repetition, we can tweak and perfect these movements while adding them to our long-term repertoire.

Imagine if every time you drove a car you drove differently; from the passenger seat, the back seat, the opposite side of the road, backward… you would, overall, get better at driving yes but accidents would happen more often and few people would truly perfect the skill of driving an automobile.

The repetition of life is what we build our skills upon and bad habits can creep in quickly and often without notice.

Last month I broke the second toe on my left foot. I took a week off and then could handle no more and I began to pole again. A few weeks later I was feeling blah about my dancing. I hypothesized the ‘blah’ feeling was me holding back due to the pain of dancing through an injury so I pressed on hoping it would get better with time. I then noticed (through watching my footage) that I had begun climbing and spinning with my inside arm low as opposed to high instinctively to bring some of the drag off my injured foot while gaining momentum in my pole mounts. The improper hand placement was making my dance look unbalanced and off. This little (but huge) monster snuck in without me even realizing it. Now, this is a big obvious correction but these minute mistakes happen in even the smallest of movements and need to be monitored, recognized, and corrected.

Some serious positives come out of recording and watching your movement:

 

I’ve had countless times where I have stopped dancing mid-freestyle because I felt I had ‘messed up’ too many times to make worthy the continuation of the dance. Then later, as I’m reviewing my footage, I find myself totally engrossed in that very same movement I thought was garbage, wishing I had continued. This revelation was not only a confidence builder but it trains you to press through regardless of the situation, never give up, and recognize that every moment counts! You are only one perspective of infinite angles.

I also can’t tell you how many times I’ve discovered some seriously cool moves from a mistake (especially regarding floor-work). While watching your footage you can pick out those accidental moments and replicate them again easily. This ability is ‘super-powered’ if you watch within a few hours of execution because you can still ‘feel’ or ‘remember’ where you were in that moment – it’s stored in that short-term body memory we all have but it seeps away quickly, which is why I always recommend viewing your footage as soon as possible.

When we learn a new movement it is often not our best work. Our shapes, lines, and transitions require tweaking, adjusting, and perfecting. Beyond nailing a specific shape we need to learn transitions into and out of that pose and define how we want to present that movement to others. We need to illuminate and round out those shady corners, refine, and make the movements our own.

Just as we evolve as people, we evolve as dancers. We become more flexible, more skilled, and our movements naturally adjust. These movements require consistent monitoring and fine-tuning.

On multiple occasions, I’ve found myself having to go back and correct a move I had previously solidified in my movement bank simply because I had become more flexible over time and the move began to look over-extended or awkward in some manner. So instead of stretching harder into my positioning, to achieve the look I wanted, I had to hold back some, correct my form, and align my lines in the way I intended them to be presented.

I’ll say it one more time…

RECORD: Each and every single time you dance, record – yes always! Every moment and movement counts and is valuable to your learning and growth as a movement artisan.

WATCH: Watch your content before you sleep – not tomorrow! Reap the benefits of that short-term body memory and take mental (if not physical) notes.

There is a lot that unintentionally passes us by unnoticed. By recording ourselves and watching ourselves, we can take a more active role in our personal progression as movement artisans and define our craft into art.

💜
Ava


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