I decided to use today’s blog as a place discuss one of the things I’ve been hearing in class lately that really grinds my gears: “I can’t.”
Students who have me as their teacher will know that I do not allow that word in the studio -- it’s a bad word in my class!
I get frustrated when a student immediately assumes they “can’t” do something because it shows that the student has already closed themselves off from the opportunity to learn. They’ve already made up their mind that they won’t be successful.
Of course, I understand the sentiment. I realise that there are a few reasons why dancers might say that they “can’t” do a particular step or skill, such as:
-The dancer has never tried the skill before.
This is not a good enough excuse to say that you “can’t” do a particular move. After all, you have a teacher right there in the studio willing to help you learn and give you feedback to get better with each try! Instead of saying “I can’t,” tell your teacher that this particular move is new to you and ask him or her to break the steps down for you.
-The skill is on the dancer's “bad” side.
I can’t count how many times I’ve heard a dancer say they “can’t” perform something on one side. My response is always the same: “If you can do it on one side, you can do it on the other. You simply have to practice.” It is crucial for dancers to develop their strength, flexibility, and balance equally from one side to another as much as possible -- neglecting to work both sides evenly is not an excuse to say you “can’t” do something.
-The dancer has an injury that prevents them from executing that particular skill.
This is an acceptable (and necessary!) thing to express to a teacher. No dance teacher would want to put a dancer’s safety at risk during a class. However, dancers should always come to their teachers before class to let them know of any injuries that might affect their ability to dance. Simply saying “I can’t do it” right before it’s your turn to go across the floor will not get the message across in the right way.
I write this blog not to shame any dancers who have said that they “can’t” do something in the past. Rather, I wanted to remind dancers that the feeling of being unable to do something is normal and is usually the result of a completely normal issue. Next time you come across one of these doubts in class, you’ll have the tools to express it to your teacher in a more productive way than “I can’t,” to help your teacher give you the instruction you need and to help you believe in the fact that you can.
We can do it, dancers! :)
Miss Evelyn - Team BoPPA x