It’s mid-August which means that we are on our second week of the 2017-2018 dance season and many of our students are beginning their academic school year. Coming out of the summer setting—the long, warm days, spending most of their time in the studio with their friends, having sleepovers, having movie nights, going on family vacations, and sometimes attending out-of-state ballet intensives—can take time for dancers to mentally and physically adjust to new routines.
I attended public school while having a full dance schedule, and though I loved school, I always found it difficult to let go of the sense of relaxation that encompasses summer’s atmosphere. Anticipating the homework load, getting used to my new schedule, and keeping track of my responsibilities would always give me anxiety at the start of a new year. So until your new schedule becomes a habit, here are some ways to make a smoother transition from one schedule to another:
Get a Planner
Some public schools provide planners, and some don’t; whatever your case may be, I highly suggesting purchasing a planner, making a planner, or using an app. Sit down with your academic syllabi and write down your assignments in the planner so you just have to look in one place for your homework. This is also where you can set up your own system—you can write the assignments down on the days they are assigned or on the days they are due.
It’s also a great idea to include your dance schedule. Anytime you have new days and times to remember, write it down at least once because you are more likely to recall the information later—you’ll also have it written down in case you need to refer to it.
Take the Initiative to Write your Schedule on the Family Calendar
Many households have family calendars so they can keep track of appointments and every member’s activities. Go ahead and put your schedule on the calendar. It’s always great to see what your week, and even your month, holds for you.
The work load at the beginning of the year is usually lighter so students can settle back into school. However, take advantage of this calmer time and work ahead where you can—whether that’s reading or completing assignments the day their assigned instead of the night they’re due—this will allow you to form good habits early on and make your to-do list, later in the year, more manageable.
What do you want from this new dance year? What would you like to accomplish? Write those aspirations down and then set smaller markers down for each goal. At the end of each week you want to be able to say, “I accomplished this in an effort to reach my goals.” At the end of the year, see if you met your 2017-2018 objectives. If you didn’t, then you save those goals for the summer or the next dance season.
Sustain Your Momentum
Don’t forget the lessons you’ve learned and the corrections you received last season and over the summer. Keep your progress and momentum going by being mindful of your technique and artistry.
“Proper planning and preparation prevents poor performance.” –Stephen Keague