Follow these 10 tips to become the best dancer you can be
Dance is booming worldwide, as more and more people aspire to become successful and famous in this art form. If you're one of them, we have 10 tips for you that will help you to make it as a dancer.
The following advice is the distilled essence from a 1.5-hour talk at the BC One Cypher Austria in Vienna, where the speakers were B-Boy Junior and Majid.
The first one of our speakers doesn't really need an introduction. He's our own Red Bull BC One All Star, Junior. A veteran of countless battle, he's inspired B-Boys and B-Girls for over two decades and has one of the most recognisable styles in breaking history.
Junior loves the possibilities of hip-hop as a culture and appreciates that it enables people to become who they want to be. "You can start with nothing and become somebody, only depending on your skills," he says.
Majid, on the other hand, is a two-time Juste Debout champion and winner of many other battles around the globe. He's from Germany and has been dancing for over 16 years. His father was a dancer before him, and he feels like he was born into the lifestyle. He learned a lot in hip-hop culture and now runs his own dance studio to give back to the scene that helped him grow.
You can see Junior and Majid dance together in the video at the top of this article and then read-on for their advice to help you become a better dancer.
1. Do it for the love of the dance, not to win battles
When you want to make your dance as good as it can possibly be, it's imperative that you're there for the right reasons. Your mind should be occupied with the dance, the connection with the music and with being free in what you do. If your thoughts are always with winning, instead of dancing the best you can, your dance will suffer.
Majid thinks too many people start for the wrong reasons, nowadays. Many of the younger dancers begin because they want to win the big battles and become famous, not because they love to dance. "I started in a time before the big competitions. That helped me to develop the right mindset towards dance. If you don't love to dance, stop right now," he' says.
If you don't love to dance, stop right now
2. Get a mentor
Throughout the ages, people have learned their craft from teachers. Today, it's easy to get information and knowledge, but the need for a mentor is still there – not because they're the only way to get quality input, but as a source of quality feedback. Sometimes you need someone to tell you where you can improve. That's what a mentor does for you. If there's no one in your reach, people from your crew can jump-in for this role.
3. Take your time
There are two things you need as a dancer that take time to develop: experience and confidence. Experience gives you the possibility to stay calm in every situation, because you lived through something similar before. Confidence is knowing that you can handle whatever comes your way.
Both are best developed by always bringing yourself into a situation where you need to step outside your comfort zone a little. Rock the local jam and then go to a bigger one and make your way up to the biggest competitions in the world. You can't skip steps along the way – take the time to appreciate every small challenge along the way. Trying to jump ahead is more likely to put you in situations you can't yet handle and set you back in total.
4. You have to be smart
Your brain is your biggest asset. Be honest with yourself and approach your development smartly. Think about your weaknesses and set goals on how to overcome them. Be aware of your strengths and reinforce them even more. If you don't set goals, you don't know where you're going. Think first, execute after.
5. You have to practice
Of course, you need to practice. As long as you build your dance, you need to keep a structured way of training. You need to automate your moves, become fluent in all the concepts you use and you need to understand the music. To achieve this, you'll really need to put in the hours.
6. Do your research
Knowing where the dance and culture come from helps to develop an understanding of how things work. It gives you the context to understand why moves are done in a certain way and it gives you the ability to understand other people and the development of the culture.
Doing research is easy today: you have the internet for the quick searches, and if you want to go in-depth, most of the pioneers who created our dance styles are still around. That means you can talk to them at workshops, events, or hit them up online. Make use of that possibility.
7. Be open when it comes to inspiration
Every artist needs inspiration and it can come from anywhere. In other arts, people commonly look outside of their own discipline for inspiration. You should do that as well. Too many dancers only consume dance, which leads to the copying of moves from other dancers. We call that biting and it's not cool.
Try to see inspiration everywhere. There's an abundance of it in the world if you're ready to see it. This also brings us to our next point.
8. Travel to dance and learn about other cultures
The best education I have is from travelling," explains Majid. "Talking to people from abroad reveals other ways to think that might work well for you."
Jams and competitions are spread out all over the globe, so visit some. This shouldn't be only because you want to go to the jam, but also because you want to meet people from other cultures. Different cultures have different ways of thinking and other approaches to life in general. Experience this differences yourself and use what helps you.
9. Have discipline
Stick to what you want to achieve. Changing plans too fast won't give you the time to see results from your work. A lot of people need to see results immediately, but that's not going to happen. Mastery comes with repetition. This isn't only about your practice, it's also about committing to finding inspiration, travelling to jams, setting goals and pursuing them. Work for what you want.
10. Be yourself and give it all you have
There are so many dancers out there, trying to make it to the top, so you have to stand out. The best way you can do that is by being you. You're unique and everyone wants to see people who know how to dance, but bring their own flavour. As soon as you master the basics, don't be afraid to do things differently. Show the world who you are. If you're feeling the moment, let loose and take risks. That's the place where magic happens.