Dancing is just as much of a mental sport as it is a physical one. It takes courage and confidence for anyone to attempt a step first, and self-doubt is a common enemy for many. This doubt usually comes from my feeling that my dancing might not fit in with professional expectations. One practice I use to combat this perpetual self-doubt is reflexivity.
Reflexivity refers to a process of reexamination of norms. While there may be cultural norms in the dance world, we are all individual dancers. The benefit of incorporating regular reflection into your dance practice is that you can notice and understand which thoughts and stories may be holding you back from dancing confidently. When I am consistent with my reflecting practice, I feel much more accepting of myself as a unique dancer and more respectful of the history and tradition we are all a part of, even in our uniqueness.
Planning and journaling are two of the simplest ways to practice reflexivity. You’ll just need a place to put your thoughts. Your reflection space may be a blank notebook, digital notepad, post-its, or whatever media you desire for your archive. There are also many options created by dancers like myself who design custom journals and tools for tracking and reflecting on your dance practice. You may need to try a few different journaling styles before you find what works for you (which is just another chance to reflect)! I use a combination of written logs and journaling and bring a lot of reflexivity into my blogging.
Every dancer has their own unique body and soul, and a reflexive approach to dancing allows you to be fluid in developing your dance skills to your personal needs. As an anthropologist, I think it is essential for the people experiencing cultural moments to reflect on them. Your journals and dance logs will become part of the collective memory of dance. There are only so many ways we can preserve dance for the future, and leaving an archive of personal reflections is one of them.
Dance Reflection Resources
I practice journaling and reflection regularly as a part of my dance practice. I’ve found that I feel more connected to myself as a dancer when I check in on my goals and experiences.
If you’d like to start your own dance diary journey, I’ve made a downloadable resource that is available in my Ko-Fi shop.