Monthly Archives: February 2016

Point of Diminishing Returns

You are keen and hungry for knowledge of every kind. You want to take this class and that class and become a perfectionist of all genres . . . all at once. As a teacher, I see this often. I have students who want to know everything . . NOW! Is this a realistic perspective? There are two polar approaches I witness. One is all in for one genre with no cross training at all. The other is in too many genres with no specialization at all.

It is not to say that you can’t become amazing at many dances. Of course you can. Knowledge can be acquired at great depth in many dances and one person can be amazing at different genres. This doesn’t happen overnight though. Masters of many have trained extensively for a time in a single genre while maintaining their other knowledge. When you have genres that require specific training e.g. a dance where the torso doesn’t twist versus one that requires frequent twisting, it can be hard to train extensively at both simultaneously because the body needs to understand and develop the engrams to that one movement well so that when the music for that genres comes on, the body kicks into that genre of movement inherently. That doesn’t happen overnight and sometimes it never does start to naturally happen for some people.

So what is the best approach to training? Balance is key. If you want to excel at one dance, and enjoy variety, this is a great approach. Try to pick things that are complimentary to the genre you are training or a non-dance training to complement e.g. gyrotonics, restorative exercise, fitness, yoga or conditioning classes. Choose something that will make you strong without confusing the movement you are trying to program into your brain and body.

All too often we want to gorge on our genre and are left feeling exhausted or defeated by it shortly down the road. Too much of a good thing can be too much. It is always good to have balance in life between social, physical, emotional, financial, and psychological well-being. Investing too much in one aspect of any one of these can tip the scales to being unwell which is not what we ever intend. If you are bent on one major genre right now, take a look at what you can cross-train in to keep yourself motivated, having fun, and enjoying your dance life.