I know we talk about goals a lot here, but it often helps to remember that goals come in many different varieties. We know that can be long-term or short-term, they can be personal or expansive, but did you also know that goals don’t need to be about making your dancing better? Sometimes the best goal is just about enjoying the dance.
Close your eyes for a minute and think about your perfect dance. What does it feel like? Who are you dancing with? What music is playing? What style are you doing? Where are you? Are there other couples on the floor? Is anyone watching you? Where do the steps come from?
Dance goals are about more than being a better dancer. In fact, the best goals in any field are about more than improvement. The best goals are about taking greater satisfaction from a field. Your first goal as a dancer should always be to get more enjoyment from dancing; improving your skills is often a great way to do this but is not the only way.
When thinking about ways to save money on dancing, think about what gives you the most value, and that often means what things make you happiest. This April I spent several hundred dollars going to a hustle and west coast swing competition, knowing I was going to do rather poorly. I could instead have spent that money on additional lessons to improve my swing and hustle, waited til next year and assuredly would have done much better, but the value for me was not in a victory or even the dance skills but in the shared experience with my studio and my new partner. The greatest value for me was not in the dance itself but in enjoying the dance within the dancing community.
Think back to your fantasy dance from the beginning of the article. Are you on a path to make that dance a reality? What do you need to do to pull it off?
One of my dreams is to travel with my girlfriend to Austria for ball season. To this end, I’m investing quite heavily in smooth. We’re attending several American Viennese balls to get a sense of ball culture, as well as practice our Viennese waltz on the crowded social floor of Viennese balls, compared to the normally near-empty floors when Viennese waltz plays at ballroom parties. I’ve also set myself a target skill level (teaching certification in full American-silver smooth and rhythm); as passing that exam becomes viable, I’ll have a sign that it’s time to start saving money for the trip.
What do you really want to do with your dancing?