Just by nature, dancers are motivated, hard-working and dedicated to their craft and at getting better at it. It doesn’t take a new year for dancers to brainstorm some goals they’d like to achieve, but the beginning of a calendar year – and, in this case, the beginning of a new decade– is a great time to get organized in your goal-setting. Some of the first things to come to mind may be things like higher extension, nailing that triple pirouette or spending more time outside the studio cross-training.
But have you ever considered some non-physical goals to set for the new year? They can be goals to feel happier or more fulfilled, or simply taking time to do things that make you happy in the new year ahead. Here, Dance Informa turned to some faculty members at Broadway Dance Center to hear their thoughts on possible goals for dancers to better their heart and mind.
What are some ideas for non-physical New Year’s goals that dancers could make for 2020?
Jim Cooney, director/choreographer
“Learn about a different decade of dance every month by researching choreographers and dancers of that time period. It will help you at auditions by adapting your style based off your knowledge of the era. Create (and adhere to) a social media schedule that’s manageable for you. Determine how often you want to post, what type of content you want to offer and how much time you’ll spend each day interacting with the social media of people with whom you’d like to work. Utilize a budgeting app so you can save a certain amount each month for a rainy day fund or retirement. There are so many free tools that will help you save money and take the stress away from knowing if you can afford essentials like your rent/mortgage or fun things like vacations. Update your website at least once a month with a new resume credit, photo, video, news item, blog post. Not only does it keep your site fresh, but search engines rank sites higher when content is consistently being updated. Take a daily action toward your goal. Think beyond auditions and classes. What else could you be doing to help move your career forward?”
Barry Kerollis, BDC faculty, artistic director of Movement Headquarters Ballet Company
“I don’t make resolutions. But one major goal I’m working toward as I prepare for my company’s official NYC debut this February, is to practice remaining calm. I have a bad habit of telling myself I am more likely to accomplish things if I feel stressed and panicked. But I’m learning I can be just as successful if I calmly and systematically approach tasks. I now realize my mental health and career longevity can only benefit from this.”
Emily Bufferd, BDC faculty, Young Choreographer’s Festival producer
“For New Year’s, I set goals, as I feel you can ‘fail’ at a resolution, but a goal just rolls over if you still want to pursue it. For me, one of my goals this year is learning how to use my words of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ more effectively. Being assertive is something I try to instill in my students, and I find that we often struggle with this not only inside the classroom but outside as well. When my dancers are afraid to use their voice not only in their movement but also in how they respond to questions in class (or outside of it), I know it is something I need to work on myself so that I can build them up in that skill.”
Yuka Kawazu, ballet faculty at BDC, Children and Teens Program of BDC, Ailey Extension, Peridance, and Ballet Arts, artistic director of Yuka Kawazu’s Danse En L’Air
“I’d like to encourage my students to be humble but to trust themselves, to have more confidence. You can change if you open your mind and take classes consistently. Will power is strong!”
Justin Boccitto, co-creator of Common Ground Tap NYC
“I have three categories I focus on during New Year’s: 1) Reflection. I look back on the previous year and recognize my mistakes, accomplishments and everything in between. This helps me learn from the past and bring a clearer understanding of what I want in the new year. 2) Creativity. I think of one creative project that is out of my comfort zone. For me, it’s music and film. So I create the concept and make it a goal to accomplish in the new year. We have to do the things we fear the most. 3) Relations. I think of one person I have in my life and make it a goal to be a better friend, partner or family member (depending on who it is) to them specifically throughout the new year.”
Carlos Neto, choreographer, dancer and faculty at BDC
“I have lots of non-physical goals for this year! Find more time to rest, meditate and keep mind at peace through stressful periods. Find inspiration to create new work from sources outside the dance world more often. Take the time to appreciate all the achievements so far, and be thankful to be where I am at the moment. Live more in the moment and not in the future!”
Kate Loh, ballet faculty at BDC, Peridance and Ballet Arts
“The start of a new year is a wonderful time to reset, reflect and set new goals. As dancers, we spend so much time thinking about the physical aspects of our work, such as building strength, gaining flexibility and refining our technique, but it is equally important to cultivate other aspects of life that feed our soul. This makes for a healthier, more well-rounded person, and therefore a deeper artist.
Make plans in the new year to see art, music and plays. Watch movies, read books, and go to concerts and sporting events. Discover other interests, and appreciate the world around you. Cultivate friendships in and out of the dance world. Spend time with family. Remember that you are a human being first, not just a dancer and athlete. Being a dancer is incredible, it is a huge part of your life, but don’t let it be everything. Our passion is overwhelming, which can make casting frustrations, disappointing performances or unsuccessful auditions feel like the end of the world. Having outside interests and passions can make it easier put things in perspective and keep a level head in this profession. Make a resolution to expand your interests and passions, and find inspiration from the unexpected. You might be surprised by what you discover and where it leads you!”
Ginger Cox, faculty at BDC and Pace University
“Since our actions are initiated by our thoughts, non-physical resolutions are a great way to start a new year. As dancers, we can be very hard on ourselves. Resolve to be kind to yourself! Focus on the things that you are doing well first, and then take small steps to help yourself improve the things that you’d like to change. Develop a positive mantra (words that you can repeat). Write words that inspire you or something as simple as, ‘I can do it’ on the inside of your hand, and look at it if doubt or fear creep into your mind. Change the perspective that mistake are ‘bad’. See them as a resource of information that can be studied to help you improve. Smile more! Both in and out of class. Happiness starts from within and can be contagious if shared. Start your morning by smiling at yourself in the mirror (or any time during the day)! When I do this, it always makes me laugh. These small resolutions have helped me as a person and in dance. I hope they (or one) can inspire ideas for new resolutions for 2020!”
Need some assistance in your goal-setting for the New Year? Jim Cooney recently launched a program, Seeing 20/20 in 2020, that helps dancers with taking action toward your career goals. With this program, you can put yourself in the driver’s seat of your career and learn tricks to help you instead of slow you down. For more information, visit www.jimcooney.me/seeing2020.
By Laura Di Orio of Dance Informa.