5 WAYS to Tell if You're Making Progress

Posted On 05/11/2018 by Juan de Dios Garcia

dog laying on ground above a sign that says progress

The adage goes “We are all our own worst critic”.  If that’s so, then finding whether or not we are making progress can prove to be a very difficult task.  Everyone expects to see results just after one week going to the gym.  However, every trainer will tell you, it doesn’t work that way.  Results take time and so does ones progress.  We promise you, if you keep at it, you’ll develop into the type of dancer that you want to be.  But, just to make sure, here are 5 tips on how you can see if you’re making progress.

  1. IT'S EASIER.  Repetition is key to getting your body to remember what to do.  The more you do it, the easier it gets.  When the moves get easier to remember, that’s a sure sign that you are getting it.  This means that you’re well on your way to owning that move or technique.
  2. IT'S HARDER.  Teachers have this knack for challenging their students.  It’s like they want them to get better or something.  The theory behind making it challenging is the better the student gets, the easier the material becomes.  When that happens, it’s time to move onto the next thing.  Typically the next thing is harder.  So when things get harder, you can bet that your teacher threw in a curve ball of new material.  Why?  Because you were ready to progress to the next level.
  3. GOOD JOB.  When you’re progressing, you can expect that others will start to notice.  That means compliments will start to come your way.  Compliments like Way to go! and Good Job!  If accepting a compliment is hard for you, here’s a word of advice.  Say Thank You!   It’s the easiest way to accept.  If you’re still unsure, ask why.  Let the complimenter know.  Ask “Why do you think I did a good job?”  The specificity of the answer should cure your curiosity and prove that you are moving along in the right direction.
  4. PICTURE PERFECT.  As a dancer, it’s only natural that you will be photographed at some point.  Whether at a studio event, or office party.  A wedding or night out on the town dancing.  A photo will go on your phone or better yet on the interweb.  It’s bound to happen.  When it does, one of two results is afoot.  You either like it or you don’t.  The better you get, the better your photos get.  You know yourself best.  So if you run across a photo that you like, amongst a sea of photos that you don’t, you can guarantee that your dancing is getting better as well.  
  5. NEXT LEVEL.  When you’ve worked hard enough to get a pattern down, the natural thing is to move to the next level.  Since you may not see your progress, don’t be upset if others do.  Usually, your instructor will tell you that you’re ready.  Typically readiness has to do with repeating the step without much prompting, ability to do it on your own, and knowledge of the specific technique from the pattern.  If you find yourself moving on from one level to the next, take that as a sign of progression.

Overall, telling your progress is a lot of learning about yourself as much as it is progression.  If any of this sounds like you, you may have a hard time seeing your own progress.  In addition, this should help remind you to tell yourself that you ARE learning something and progressing.  Consider the Bamboo plant.  It spends 3 years underground before seeing any light.  The following year the bamboo plant shoots up 3- 5 feet per year.  That’s a lot of growth!  This wouldn’t happen if the gardener didn’t properly water and care for the plant on a consistent basis.  Such as your learning.  Care for it, feed it.  Stay consistent and you’ll see your progression grow and grow.

Topics Ballroom Dancing, Dance Tips, New Students, Learning, dance advice, advanced students

Juan de Dios Garcia Photo

Juan de Dios Garcia

Juan de Dios is the owner of 2 Arthur Murray Dance Centers in Northern California. He spends his time training his staff and consulting for Arthur Murray Dance Centers globally. His hobbies include making gourmet ice cream and taking long walks on the beach with his wife Cari and dog Julio.