Digging deeper. Your body as a tool for creating mastery.
Have you ever thought about the only thing, which you are destined to live with throughout your entire life? Yes! It is your body. The body is the most powerful tool of a man. Everyone has a body, so... everyone is an athlete?! Indeed!
What if we think that we are craftsmen and our bodies are the tools and machines used for achieving perfection in producing, let's say a crystal vase? We know that craft masters take exceptional care for the tools and devices they are working with because they earn them their living. If tools are dirty, not well-oiled, or even broken, they would not be able to make money.
Most professional athletes know this very well and work hard to preserve the best condition of their bodies throughout their entire career. Do we as Ballroom Dancers?
Now you might think that I am only referring to being fit? Well, it is not just about being visually fit, which, of course, is more pleasing to the eye and can give you an advantage as a ballroom dancer for sure.
An athlete’s body needs to be like a Rolex watch- “Crafted from the finest raw materials and assemble with scrupulous attention to every detail,” which is why Rolex is a Rolex, maybe the best watch out there, one of the most expensive, delivering the best possible performance.
The thing that made me write this article is that I don't believe that we (ballroom dancers) act like professional athletes. Most of the dancers are not paying enough attention when it comes to preparing their bodies for the training process and achieving peak performance. Part of the time, this is the result of the social stigma around Ballroom Dancing as being a hobby. Hobbies generally don't require a "peak performance."
Nowadays, I see dancers indulge in unhealthy habits the day before a major competition. Then they go out there dance four, five rounds, make the final, somehow dance through it, doesn’t feel right, fight with your partner, decide they need to practice more (which is probably true), go home, and repeat. No recovery practices, no massages, no physical therapy.
But something there is not right; something is missing. The sharpening of your tool for producing mastery is not there.
Recently Dance Magazine posted an article about the most demanding jobs in the U.S. Not surprisingly; Dance is number one. You can read the article below.
Dance Ranked Most Physically Demanding Job in the U.S.
Thinking about it all- I don't believe that this is only competitors' fault; it is our coaches and teachers we should turn to because we lack knowledge about these aspects of an athlete's life.
I really what to emphasize on the health aspect of it all. Having a healthy body is of vital importance for every human and for everyone determined to achieve peak performance, no matter if it's winning a World, European title, or feel good about your dancing.
So how can we, as Ballroom dancers become real athletes who take a lot of things into consideration for their well-being? Simple- respect for ourselves, our bodies, and the craft come first.
Then we should educate ourselves- both coaches and competitors. As a teacher, not only a competitor now, I can see it. It all starts with us- the teachers of the young. If we show them the light, they can see it. We should pursue knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and the science of nutrition.
Reading this, you are going to think that I am writing about all this only because Ballroom dancing, and any type of dancing really, is a very visual sport and it matters how we look, but it’s not. What I want you to get out of this blog is that we need to shift our perspective towards healthier and responsible use of our primary tool for producing the art of Ballroom Dancing - our body.