What’s the one thing that makes or breaks a dancer’s performance?
No, it’s not cleanliness. Nor facials. Nor textures.
The dancers who are the most eye-catching aren’t the ones who do every move perfectly. They’re the ones who own the piece even if they’re not.
Do you want to be able to do this? Do you want to “slay,” “kill,” or “murder” any piece that’s thrown at you? Do you want “SWAG”?
Do you want to just feel comfortable with yourself when dancing?
You can! No matter what level of dancer you are, everyone has the ability and right to dance confidently.
Try these 6 tips to help build your dance confidence!
1. Put in the work
The more you work on yourself as a dancer, the more your confidence will grow.
First, your skills will increase when you train. And seeing your progress will make you more self-assured.
The classes that would’ve intimidated you a year ago will feel like a fun challenge, instead.
The cycle of “results -> motivation -> work -> more results” will continue to elevate both your dance abilities and confidence.
Second, knowing that you worked hard is going to boost your confidence – even without the benchmarks of improvement. The act of working hard is something to take pride in.
“Know yourself and you will win all battles.”
– Sun Tzu
Neither first place nor select groups are as important as your own view of yourself.
Be prepared. Trust yourself. It’ll leave very little room for external factors to shake your confidence.
See Related Article: How To Get Out Of That Weakest Link Mentality As A Dancer
When compliments and rewards come, say thank you and celebrate. When critiques come, say thank you and grow from them.
Speaking of, what is your view of yourself?
2. “Different, not better”
One of the most awesome things about art is that there is no “right” or “wrong.”
There are only interpretations and preferences.
Yes, there are technical criteria in dance, but when it comes to personal style.. You do you!
See Related Article: How To Develop Your Unique Style As A Dancer
One way to be confident, especially when it comes to things like freestyling or choreographing, is to embrace your right to be different.
If anything, please feel encouraged to be original. So many dancers emulate their dance idols because they’re scared to develop their own or are just unaware that they can.
This not only comes at the sacrifice of their true style that was meant to shine, but it also makes their performance feel like a dance cover.
“Always be yourself and have faith in yourself. Do not go out and look for a successful personality and try to duplicate it.”
When you find your own true voice, you’ll wear it so comfortably that it’s impossible for it not to look good.
Your personal swag is like a suit tailored especially to your body. Except it’s your skin. Whoa.
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you want a simple trick to executing your own or anyone else’s choreography with confidence, here it is:
The right body posture.
Now, it’s not just about having your chest puffed and chin up. It’s about deciding what kind of character that the piece is meant to portray.
Confidence looks different in different contexts.
See Related Article: Dear STEEZY, How Do I Dance With More Confidence?
Some pieces or styles (for example, waacking) call on you to stand tall with your shoulders back and focus up. Mmph, powerful and sexy.
But other pieces (for example, a smooth r&b piece) may look awkward with such an upright stance. Setting your focus at eye level or lower would look more inviting and conversational than projecting up.
Finding the posture that fits the piece well is going to help you embody the mood of the piece, making your performance look more natural and confident.
Wanna get even more specific than posture?
4. Play a part
This might come as a surprise.. But…
You don’t have to actually be a confident person to dance confidently.
All of us have insecurities, in and outside of dance. But the great part of performing is that you can forget about those things for a second and be someone else.
Literally. You can play a different person.
See Related Article: 10 Types Of “Facials” Dancers Make When Performing (Sponsored by Fusion XV)
When you perform a piece, listen to the song and let your mind design the entire story: character, intent, and setting.
“What is this person feeling? Their desire? Intention? What situation are they in? What are they wearing? What do they want?”
Specifying the role will make it easier to perform with the posture, facials, and mannerisms that this character has.
“When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable.”
– Walt Disney
5. Get immune to messing up
Mistakes are blessings in disguise.
Mistakes are “pause buttons” in life where you have to stop and ask, “Okay, what just happened? And how do I not do that again??”
If you approach challenges with this mindset, you will have very little to fear.
See Related Article: Quotes To Help You Overcome Your Dance Fears And Live A Creative Life
In fact, being open to learning and growing is the ultimate recipe for success.
So the next time you brain fart during groups, don’t stress about it. Use it as a catalyst to become better instead.
“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”
– E.E. Cummings
Being confident doesn’t mean that you’re invincible. It just means that you’re not going to let your fear of messing up hold you back. It means that you believe yourself to be stronger than your weaknesses.
6. Full-out commitment
Dancing BIG and “full out” is a surefire way to catch eyeballs, but not all full-outs are created equal.
Looking confident has less to do with how much power you’re distributing to each move and more with how fully you are committing to it.
Instead of going HAM for every single move, take note of just how much you need to give and give that. All of that.
If a move calls for a straight arm, extend it fully. If you have to get low, you better GRAND plié that sucker. If you have to jump high, get hella air.
If you have to slow down, slow down. Commit to that slow down.
Simple things like a walk, a look, a freestyle – commit to those as much as you commit to the full-out power moves.
These 6 tips are just a start to feeling more confident as a dancer.
But confidence is mostly a mental matter – it is about believing yourself.
And even if you don’t yet, know that we believe in you! And we want to see you killin’ it out there!
Take class on STEEZY Studio to grow your skills and confidence.
How do you boost your confidence when dancing? Let us know in the comments below!