Seven ways to get worse at dance

Have you ever wished you could get worse at dancing? Yes, you read rightly, worse.

If so, here is a list of seven of the best tried and tested ways to worsen your technique, demoralise yourself and make your classmates and teacher dislike you in the process.

SPOILER: this post is sarcastic; follow the advice only if you really do want to get worse.


1. Get frustrated – You’re learning a new movement but your body isn’t keeping up. This is the time to implement technique number 1, frustration. Say things like “I’ll never be able to do this” and “I am so slow/ stupid”. Frustration is key to losing the valuable energy you could otherwise use to improve your dancing.

Me, applying the first technique.
Me, applying the first technique after class.

2. Never rise to the challenge – This technique will see you stay at the bottom of your class, forever. Don’t EVER push yourself, err on the safe side and only do what you KNOW you can do. After all, the aim is not to improve but to stay just where you are or, better yet, get worse with time.

3. Don’t pay attention to the teacher – Is the teacher explaining what to do? Now is the time to go get a drink of water, daydream or, better yet, speak to someone – maybe they want to get worse, too. This technique will make you unpopular with teachers and classmates and ensure you never make the most of exercises.

4. Forget about dancing, move like a machine – Dance class is not about dancing – it’s about making robot-like movements. It’s not a place to enjoy yourself – it’s a place to repeat tiring exercises, countless numbers of times. Make sure you move like a machine, don’t enjoy any of it and most importantly, do not smile. Ever!

5. Never ask questions, always pretend to know everything – then just wing it! – Use this technique if you want to hurt yourself. I tried it and tore my menisci (on both knees!). This technique is also particularly good for people who would rather waste time looking confused and ridiculous instead of just asking for help.

6. Compare yourself to everyone and everything around you, all the time – ever heard the phrase “comparison is the thief of joy”? Well, it is also the repressor of improvement in dance. You know that lady in class, the one with the perfect ballet body, compare yourself to her until you feel bad about how you look. And compare yourself to the guy with the super-doper, amazing technique. Pick yourself, your body and your technique apart until you feel genuinely awful. You’ll not only feel worse, you’ll also dance worse as a result.

7. Over think. Everything. – The teacher has just given you the exercise and it’s time to mark it. Implement this technique now. Let the exercise run through your head at high speed, over and over again. At the same time, fill your mind with doubts about whether you can actually execute the steps. The second you are about to start the exercise, let all the corrections you have EVER gotten from your teacher run through your mind until you are reduced to a nervous wreck. This is the best, surest and quickest way to mess up an exercise.


Or maybe not? – Do any of these sound familiar? I made this list based on common things the dancers in the classes I take said they do as well as things I do myself.

We all have bad days where some of the techniques above become inevitable. But most of the time, we fall back on them simply out of habit.

If you don’t actually want to get worse at dancing and find yourself following any of these techniques, maybe it’s time to rethink your strategy. I know I will.


Dance like nobody’s watching

A dancer improvising a dance in a dance studio.

There is something intensely beautiful about being vulnerable – when you’ve nowhere to run and nowhere to hide.

It’s scary but I’ve noticed that it also puts me in different state of mind. One where time stands still, everything blurs around me and I can actually feel the blood coursing through my veins.

I guess, in a strange way, it makes me feel more alive.

At MDA, we’ve been doing improvisation exercises in preparation for our performance this October. Nothing can make you feel more vulnerable than improvising dance alone in front of other people. Trust me. NOTHING!

We’ve had to improvise a lot over the past few weeks and the first few times, I won’t lie, it was difficult and oh so awkward. We film our rehearsals so I would watch the videos afterwards and cringe at my self-conscious movements. I’d compare myself to other dancers – their moves always seemed so “natural”, “honest” and beautiful to watch.

During a break last rehearsal, I was sitting at the side watching another company member improvise. Like me, she is a non-professional dancer so I could tell she felt awkward and uncomfortable. She closed her eyes as if trying to block out everything and everyone around her and for a moment I could see she managed to “forget” where she was.

I don’t know if she noticed me but I started to piece together the story she was trying to tell.

Watching her taught me a valuable lesson about improvisation and indeed dance in general. Her dancing touched me, not because her moves were impressive but because she was willing to let go and share her story. She allowed people to share in her vulnerability and that is a feeling everyone can relate to.

We’ve heard it all before, “you only live once, don’t mind what others think of you”, “be yourself”, “dance like nobody’s watching”. These are profound truths that very few of us have the courage to follow.

A dancer improvises a dance in a dance studio.

It’s Friday everyone. Let’s be bold this weekend and allow ourselves to be vulnerable, as scary as it may seem.

Let’s open our hearts, put on our favourite tune and dance, like nobody’s watching.


p.s.: sorry for the long break. I’ve missed you all terribly 🙂