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dancemom0987

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Reply with quote  #1 
My DD14 was told last night by one of her teachers that she always looks confused when she dances because she's always looking everywhere. I'm thinking she's partially looking at the other dancers and getting worried she's not good enough. She's also been told MANY times that she needs to stop looking at the ground when she dances by her teachers, judges, and other choreographers. Any ideas on how to boost her confidence and/or how to keep her eyes focused on herself?
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Kfish1987

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Reply with quote  #2 
Video the dance and have her practice on her own until she knows it with her eyes closed
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tendumom

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Reply with quote  #3 

Practice. 

Dd's first team teacher years ago would tell them to dance for the "grandma in the last row in the balcony."  Your dd has made looking at the ground such a habit that she likely has no idea that it looks like she is doing that.  Something that is not always addressed and does not come naturally for some is that when you dance, you are supposed to use every part of your body... in her case, that includes the eyes. Even if her head is not forward, looking down, her eyes obviously are. So, it may not even be confidence, only she can answer that. It may be habits that were not broken at a younger age. She can certainly address them now. I think video taping her dancing would help so she can see. And then record her again, but looking out and UP. Up might just bring her to where she needs to be if she's been looking down for so long!

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AussieBalletMum

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Reply with quote  #4 
My youngest daughter (13) also does this.  She was even picked up for this in her Grade 5 exam a few  weeks ago.  They wrote that she seemed distracted because she was looking around all the time.  It wasn't because she doesn't know the work.  She practiced so well at home and knew it perfectly.  Its only when there are others doing the same thing that she starts looking around.  When she does her solo's she's fine.  She's confident and looks up and smiles. I'm not sure how to fix it.  She knows its a problem but says the more she tries not to do it, the more conscious she is that she is actually doing it.
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dave9988

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Reply with quote  #5 
If the problem is looking around looking at other dancers, then ... stop.  Stop comparing yourself to them.  Stop concerning yourself with what they are doing.  Have confidence in your own dancing, confidence that you are beautiful in your own way.  Focus on your dancing, your movements, and your own learning and growth. 

You can't showcase your own artistry, you can't learn and grow, if you're spending your precious class time looking around at others.  Doing so takes you out of the moment, strips away any emotion from your movements, and leaves you at less than your best. 

Treat class like a performance, not as a weekly ranking.

I've been in ballet and modern classes where the teachers have basically said, "OK, your arm did the movement.  But it was so bland.  Follow your hand with your eyes, unlock your head and let it move, add some beauty."  My point is, it's one thing to say "stop looking around."  Even better is to give them a focus point.
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lovemykids

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Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dave9988
If the problem is looking around looking at other dancers, then ... stop.  Stop comparing yourself to them.  Stop concerning yourself with what they are doing.  Have confidence in your own dancing, confidence that you are beautiful in your own way.  Focus on your dancing, your movements, and your own learning and growth. 

You can't showcase your own artistry, you can't learn and grow, if you're spending your precious class time looking around at others.  Doing so takes you out of the moment, strips away any emotion from your movements, and leaves you at less than your best. 

Treat class like a performance, not as a weekly ranking.

I've been in ballet and modern classes where the teachers have basically said, "OK, your arm did the movement.  But it was so bland.  Follow your hand with your eyes, unlock your head and let it move, add some beauty."  My point is, it's one thing to say "stop looking around."  Even better is to give them a focus point.



Easier said than done! My daughter usually struggles with this too. It is definitely a matter of confidence and it is hard to overcome, but practice and a lot of pep talks!
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #7 
Maybe you could take a side run at the issue, by encouraging her to watch herself in the mirror.  This will keep her head up (at least to an extent) and her focus forward.  I'm also wondering where she stands in the room.  Would it be better to move toward the front where she can't see others?  
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hopefuldancer17

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Reply with quote  #8 
I think being aware of it is half the battle. I agree with others - she needs to focus on herself and not worry about what others around her are doing. She also needs to practice looking up and imagining gazing out onto or over an audience. Dancers who look down are not compelling to watch. Can she see video of herself doing that, to help her understand why she needs to break that habit? Dance isn't just doing the steps; it's an art form, and there has to be a connection with the viewer. Sometimes these corrections can be understood mentally but still take a long, long time to process and get internalized. They don't usually happen overnight!
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dancemom0987

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Reply with quote  #9 
Quote:
Originally Posted by prancer
Maybe you could take a side run at the issue, by encouraging her to watch herself in the mirror.  This will keep her head up (at least to an extent) and her focus forward.  I'm also wondering where she stands in the room.  Would it be better to move toward the front where she can't see others?  


Good tip! She said she usually stands in the second or third row, depending on how big the class is.
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nyklane

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Reply with quote  #10 
Could it be that there is some interdynamics going on between her and other girls in the class.  My DD is much younger - but in classes where she feels comfortable - head is up, dancing great.  Classes where there was a particular student that had questioned "why" my daughter was in this class, and pretty bossy toward her - my daughter shrunk away.  Almost to the point where she may have lost her spot in the class.  At one point the teacher said to me and my DD - you can raise your hand and ask questions - and the response was that she didn't want to in front of this particular girl.

We have worked our way through this individually - and also have made some progress in building a better relationship with this girl.  I did not want one bad apple to spoil my daughters love of dance.  It's not easy but we are getting through.

But I ask as maybe there is something else going on.  Not wanting to be embarrassed by another classmate.  Or maybe that she is embarrassed to dance in front of a particular classmate for fear of people talking about her?  HOPEFULLY this is not the case!!!
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kmpmom

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Reply with quote  #11 
Here's another angle.

My DD (turning 17) used to do this all the time.  Left ...right ....left ...left ...right.  Her eyes were in constant motion.  And because she has huge blue eyes on a very pale face, it was like spotlights moving all around.

Turns out it was an eyesight problem causing depth perception issues and she was constantly concerned she was going to hit someone or be hit by someone.  She literally could not perceive the appropriate depth.  So her brain had her looking all over as a defence mechanism of sorts.

Had her eyes tested and she's nearly blind in one eye.  The other eye had been compensating for years (we found this out when she was 13).  She now wears a strong contact in ONE eye and she's stopped looking all around.  

It's not always a confidence issue.  
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