8 Ways to Turn Your ‘Bad’ Dance Day Into a Good One


Photo Credit: Cornelia Schauermann | Getty Images


very dancer has ups and downs, and occasionally, some dance days seem to have more downs than ups—maybe you’re falling out of every pirouette, or can’t seem to pick up the choreography fast enough or perhaps your balance or timing is off. The good news is that your “bad” dance day doesn’t have to stay that that way. Next time you’re feeling like you want to hang up your dance shoes, try these in- and out-of-class strategies to have a good day even when you’re not feeling like you’re at your best:

Transform Your Troubles During Class:

  1. Hit pause. Take a moment to acknowledge that absolutely everyone has an off day every now and then. After that, breathe and flick away the little fearmongers inside your head. You’ve got this.
  2. Re-focus. Practicing steps over and over in a panic isn’t likely to rescue your day or your dancing. Try concentrating on other things like your facial expressions, your upper body or the emotion and dynamics in the movement. When your inner critic flares up, it will also help to literally change focus and keep your eyes off the mirror.
  3. Adjust your inner vision. To move on to the next thing or the next part of your day without replaying every past mistake, simply change the channel on the flatscreen in your mind. See yourself effortlessly holding that balance or nailing that pirouette. Then, turn the volume up on all the things going well instead of what’s not.
  4. Reach out. When you don’t feel great about your performance, it’s easy to keep your head down and turn all your attention inward. Instead, reach out to a fellow dancer for moral support. You’ll feel a whole lot better and your dancing may improve, too!

Improve Your Mood After Class:

  1. Troubleshoot. There’s no need to dwell on a bad day but sometimes it helps to recognize that there are reasons you might be feeling a little off. Did you get enough rest the night before? Were you in a rush to get to dance class? Did you fill up on good fuel for your body? Are your expectations way too high after an injury? Once you’ve pinpointed the issue, you can make adjustments.
  2. Socialize. Hang out with your pals, whether they are dancers who make you laugh or non-dancers who give you fresh perspective. This type of in-person contact can help release those feel-good hormones (aka serotonin) in your body.
  3. Do something else. Exercise, paint, listen or let loose to your favorite music, treat yourself to a massage or munch on healthy noshes known to boost your mood like avocado, fish, beans, eggs, walnuts or a bit of dark chocolate. Whatever works for you to lift your spirits and take your mind off dance for a little while.
  4. Be grateful. Remind yourself how lucky you are to be a dancer. Every day dancing is a good one, after all!