Monday, November 7, 2011

But I Don't Feel Like Practicing Tonight!

I love dancing. I hear music and I start composing choreo to it. I flureo while on the phone. I do shimmies walking around the office.

But there are nights when I get home and I look around my messy house and my undone laundry and the pile of dishes in the sink and say, "Do I really have to go to practice tonight?"

Of course, the answer is Yes! I have to go to practice. I want to be a professional bellydancer. I want to teach more students, I want to dance on more stages. I have to go to practice if I want that. But sometimes, it's hard to remember my end goal, or even why I want that end goal in the first place.

In a case like that, I have a few tricks up my sleeve to get my body and my brain cooperating and off to practice.

How to conquer your practice resistance
Put on your dance clothes: When you feel yourself start to slide into the Don't Wanna Practice Blues, put on your dance clothes. For this to work, you should have special dance clothes--maybe a special top or practice skirt, or some yoga pants just for dance class. I have several skirts I wear just to practice that get me in the mood for dancing.

Watch some bellydance videos: Have a favorite dancer or troupe? Look up some of their videos on YouTube and spend a few minutes watching them. I always get inspired by watching the dancers I admire, and it always makes me want to jump up and start dancing myself. Watching other dancers also serves to remind me what I'm aiming for, and I remind myself that I'm not going to get good just sitting around watching videos.

Put on some music: Did you just buy some new dance music? Put it on and try out a few moves. Even if you're just walking around the house cleaning or cooking dinner, play your favorite dance music and watch the way your body reacts. Your body will just start dancing naturally, and you'll find yourself in the mood to move faster than you think.

Recruit a dance buddy: I introduced a friend of mine to bellydance, and now that she lives near me, we carpool to class. Whenever there's an extra class or workshop, I give her a call and we go together. It helps to have someone else go with you, and remind you to go to class. It adds the extra little bit of accountability you might need to succeed.

Set up prepayment with your teacher: Still having trouble getting to class? Pay for a month's worth of classes in one go, and have your teacher set up an expiration date. If you reach the expiration date and haven't used all your classes, you've lost them. Some studios will do this automatically, to discourage the one-class wonders, but you can easily do it to yourself if you're on good terms with your teacher or studio. Knowing that there's money riding on your attendance will give you the motivation to get to class.

If you've tried everything and you're still having trouble getting to class, maybe it's time to consider that something isn't working. If you come to this conclusion, don't despair yet! Maybe it's just the teacher's style, or the women you're dancing with. It's okay to admit that maybe you'd get along better with another group, or learn better from a different teacher. Really take a look at your situation, and if you really want to stick with bellydance, make sure you figure out what works for you and keeps you going to class.

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