In last week’s post, we started to talk about how to dance smarter, not harder. Know that you have an idea of why I take this approach, let’s dig into a few sample scenarios to learn how to practice it in our careers. These scenarios will give you an idea of what you can do to implement this mindset. 

Keep in mind that these are solutions that I personally came up with based on my experience. I encourage you to find better solutions that suit you if possible. I believe that you should always keep learning and growing.

Scenario 1

Your team just got booked for a gig next week to perform at a corporate party where the audience doesn’t know too much about dance. Your goal is to deliver an entertaining piece so that your audience is happy. You only have two days out of the week to rehearse with your team. What’s the most smart/efficient way to do this?

Solution 1: Use/Revamp An Old Piece

Since time is not on your side, use an easy crowd-pleasing piece you’ve already created from before so that you can have more time to clean the piece. With this method, you might even have time to make minor changes that will ‘wow’ your audience.

The more entertained the audience is, the more likely you will be hired again, usually. In this scenario, you end up spending LESS time working on your dance but get the FULL benefits of an entertaining show.

Think about the 80/20 rule. Just make sure you always have material to pull from your dance library. If you don’t have a library of moves, you should start building one so you can dance smarter.

Solution 2: Stick to Your Strengths

Create a quick piece that focuses on the strengths of your team. Let’s say your team specializes in robotics. There is NO point in creating a piece that is out of your element especially if there’s not enough time to clean it.

Remember that for this scenario, you’re not focused on improving a skill, you’re focusing on what your team is already good at. You’re dancing smart by playing to your strengths. It might seem obvious to do what you’re good at, but sometimes people don’t think clearly when they’re on a time crunch. Keep it simple and effective.

The only downside to this option is you may be sacrificing moves to make the process feel “easier.” Even if it’s easy to you, you have to think back to what your audience knows. They are expecting to be entertained. Do you really think they are expecting to see really difficult dance moves? Unless that’s what you’re known for, I’m gonna go ahead and assume that’s a no.

Just to clarify, I’m not saying you should only stick to your style. You can definitely expand your skills but there’s a time and place for that. Knowing how to focus on what’s important is a vital part of dancing smarter.

Solution 3: Leverage Your Team or Outsource

Let’s say you have NO time to choreograph. Pick a person from your team that can choreograph something your whole team can learn fast. It’s like a boss hiring an employee to do the work so that the boss can focus on running the business. Teams work better when there’s a system in place.

If you don’t have anyone who can choreograph on your team, ask a guest choreographer to come and create for you and make sure you pay them for their time. This could come from the money you receive from the gig.

If they are willing to do it for free, find a way to compensate them anyway to build a good working relationship. You can always owe them a favor. It’s always smarter to focus on building good relationships because those are priceless.

This method requires no choreography time so you can spend more time working on relationships with other choreographers as well as take some of the stress off of you so that you can perform better.

By allowing yourself to oversee the project from an outside perspective, you can better understand your team and dance smarter. If you had to choreograph and teach everything on your own, you won’t have enough time to look at it as a whole since you’ve only two days to do all of this.

Scenario 2

You’re learning a new routine to create a dance video, but you barely have time to practice due to school or work. You only have about 30 minutes to an hour worth of practice time each day. You have to be ready to film this routine by the end of the month because that’s the only window of time available. What should you focus on?

My Recommended Solution: Schedule and Commit

Before you do anything creative, sit down and fill out your calendar and stick to that schedule. It’s a simple task, but most people start working without scheduling anything and that will definitely result in an unorganized video shoot or an incomplete routine.

Figure out how much time you actually have reserved for practice and fill in the exact times you will practice during the month. Now, fill out the exact times for video production.

If you don’t have enough time for video production, you might have to take out some of the practice time. If it’s your first time doing this and you aren’t sure how much time you need to practice, just fill it out anyway and adjust it each week until you find a good pace.

Scheduling everything is super important but it can be a tedious task. When you start making money from dance, use that money to hire an assistant or a friend to help you schedule things so that you have more time to create. Get used to working with others because if you want to grow a dance business, you’ll eventually need a team. Getting organized is another way of dancing smarter.

Oops! I Didn’t Stick to My Schedule:

Say you’re rehearsing for about a week, and you missed a couple of rehearsals due to emergencies or whatever the case may be. Now you’re running out of time and you start to freak out. No worries. You’ve got a few days left to make changes. Look at your routine and see what parts you’re struggling with.

Change it. Switch out the tough parts with something more manageable and save the difficult move for your next video. It feels like you’re giving up and not trying hard enough, but listen to me carefully when I say this: You’re not here to dance hard, you’re here to dance smart. You’re simply storing that move into your library of moves and you can pull up that move at a later time.

I know it seems like I’m telling you to settle for easier moves but there’s a good reason for it.

Dance is subjective.

Let’s explore why it’s OK to save the harder moves for later. “Easy moves” could labeled be bad in your mind, but it could be extremely entertaining to someone to watch. If this is your business, you’re usually trying to please your customers/clients in order to make money. Successful dancers don’t start businesses to please themselves only, they do it to serve others and are rewarded for doing so.

Even if your moves are easy, the amount of confidence and enthusiasm you pour in will put life into those moves. Never dance without confidence. As long as you dance with confidence, it won’t matter. Just remember Michael Flatley (from the previous post). Confidence.

My Plans Fell Through

Just because part of your plan falls through, you can still make an amazing video. Let’s say your video plans don’t work out because you couldn’t find a location or a videographer. You can either postpone, or set the camera on a tripod and film it somewhere else. Dance videos are more about the content than the actual setting, in my opinion.

You can film a dance video anywhere. Some people won’t care if it’s in your bedroom or if its in a dance studio, but they usually care about how much effort you put into a video, so if you’re planning on doing it in your bathroom or down the street, make sure you find the best shot possible and be resourceful.

Plan carefully. The only good plan is having many plans.

A word about commitment

Treat this process as though it were your FAVORITE job because you ultimately want dancing to be your main career, right? Getting into that mindset and commitment are the most important qualities to have when it comes to building your career.

There are so many more scenarios to cover but I’ll have to save those for another time. If you ever want to discuss a challenge that you’re currently facing, let’s talk about it! Send me an email or follow me on social media and I’ll respond.

If you know anyone who might benefit from reading my blogs, send them here: The Successful Dancing E-mail Blog. Thank you so much for reading and I hope you found my advice helpful. If you feel confused or want to go more in depth with this topic, click here to learn how to dance smarter.