Every year, on January 1st, people all around the world make New Year’s Resolutions, things they want to do in the coming year to change their lives or improve themselves, or as some people say, “new year, new me!”. However, according to research done by Ohio State University, only about 9% of those resolutions actually stick! That’s why instead of sharing a list of possible resolutions for dancers to try (and probably fail) to stick to, here is a bucket list of 24 new dance things you could try out in 2024.
1. A Teacher
It might be fun to try a class with a new teacher! Dancers can often become accustomed to how one teacher runs their class, or that teacher’s preferences, but it could be fun to try out a new instructor, and see how it goes. It could offer you a new perspective on technique or artistry, or even evoke a new love for the style. Taking class with a new teacher might seem scary, but in the end, you always learn the most when you step out of your comfort zone!
2. Style of Dance
Not only could it be fun to try out a new teacher, but what about a totally new style of dance? If you’re a ballet dancer, why not try a jazz class? If you’re a tap dancer, maybe a hip hop class could be fun! Trying out a new genre could be a way to diversify your dance training, or just have a fun time! Check out the DancePlug tutorials if you don’t know where to start.
2024 could be a good time to try a new studio, especially if you’ve been feeling stagnant where you are. For pro-dancers, this could be simple; if you always take class at Steps on Broadway, why not try a class at Broadway Dance Center, or Peridance? For youth dancers, you could test out some studios in your area by doing some trial lessons, and see if you want to make a change for the 2024-25 school year.
Even more drastically, you could make a big leap, and change cities to dance in! While moving is a significant pivot, one way to dance in a new city in 2024 could be to take a trip with the intention of taking classes while you’re there! Some cool dance-trip destinations could be: New York City, Los Angeles, London, Washington, DC, Chicago, or Buenos Aires!
5. Dance Pals
Finding a new group of friends to take class with can be really motivating! They might have suggestions for different classes, or different places to dance at, or can give you career advice or tips on self-care you might not have thought of. Seeing friends at class can be enough motivation to get you off the couch and into class sometimes too.
6. Class Time
Are you a morning class person, or evening class? Do you prefer to take classes only on the weekend? Why not switch it up? Taking class at a different time of day might change the way you take class overall, or give you the opportunity to take class with a different person, or whole new group of dancers! You may notice you have more, or less, energy at a certain time of day, and that might push you to change your routine, and get the most out of class.
7. Pre-Class Ritual
At the beginning of class, do you feel prepared to begin? Some dancers have an extensive warm-up routine before class, while others roll in 30 seconds before it starts chugging a Celcius. There is no right or wrong way to do it, but you could experiment with different ways to get ready for class. Listening to a certain playlist, eating something different for breakfast, or even doing a quick plank before class might get you thinking about what works best for you.
8. Post-Class Ritual
Similarly, sometimes we can do an entire cool-down routine, while other times we are sprinting for the door. If you have the time, it is proven that cooling down can be beneficial to our health and longevity of our dance careers by protecting our bodies. Maybe try a longer or shorter routine, or try incorporating new exercises. Another way to interpret this could be making plans with a friend after class, or taking a minute to reflect on the class afterwards, and see how that makes you feel!
9. Cross-Training Routine
If you haven’t established a cross-training routine, or you’re bored with what you’ve got going on, 2024 is a great time to try something new. Whether that be jogging, lifting weights, boxing, or even an at-home calisthenics routine, doing something new in terms of cross training could be beneficial to your strengthening overall and your mental health.
10. Somatic Practice
Many dancers are familiar with somatic practices such as yoga and pilates, but in 2024, why not try something unique? If you’ve already gotten your fill of those two practices, some more underrated somatics include gyrotonics or gyrokinesis, body balance, or swimming! These forms of exercise focus on moving with the breath and strengthening mindfully, something every dancer could really benefit from.
11. Massage tools
By 2024, almost every dancer probably has a foam roller or a tennis ball floating around in their bag, but this could be an opportunity to try something new. Whether that be high tech like a massage gun or back to the basics with some wood therapy tools, incorporating a new massage tool into your self-care tool kit could not only help you to treat your body with kindness, but could inspire you to start a brand new routine!
12. Dance Shoes
Many dancers are married to their specific brand of shoes. However, if you’ve been with the same shoe for a while, why not try something new (within reason)? This could be as simple as trying a lace-up jazz shoe instead of a slip on. Wearing a different kind of shoe can also benefit your training! For example, a single-sole ballet slipper can help strengthen your foot, and dancing in a character heel instead of a boot is a great way to get used to something you often need to do in performances. Trying something new can push you out of your comfort zone, or lead you to discover a new favorite!
13. Street Shoes
Speaking from personal experience, as a dancer with foot problems, it is so important to wear shoes when you’re not dancing that will support your feet throughout the day, and not further irritate any injuries you may be dealing with. While it can be annoying to have to sacrifice style for comfort, it is worth it to not be in pain! Two elements to consider are the depth of the heel cup and the arch support in the shoe, as well as the prospect of using a removable insole that is customized to your own foot’s needs. Some highly recommended brands include Hoka, New Balance, Allbirds, Crocs, and Birkenstocks.
No matter if you’re a student or a pro, getting a new leotard can help you to feel more confident in class, and motivate you to keep going. Picking a leotard that makes you feel great about the way you look is important because using the mirror as a tool can also be hard on our mental health, especially for those who struggle with body image. There are tons of colors and styles to choose from, and something for every body type! While dancewear brands definitely have a ways to go in terms of size inclusivity, a couple brands who are making moves in the right direction and coming up with lovely leotards include Bunting Dancewear, SoDança, KMandFriends, and Cloud&Victory.
15. Matching Set
A cute matching set can also brighten up your mood in a dance class! Just like with a new leotard, when you look good, you feel good, and sometimes it is nice to see yourself in a little something new! Whether it be for jazz, hip hop, or heels, some great, size-inclusive brands with stylish sets to check out include Girlfriend Collective, Athleta, Old Navy, and Universal Standard.
16. Audition Outfit
Whether it be summer intensive auditions, college pre-screens, cruise ship open calls, or those early morning ECC’s, having a new audition outfit for 2024 can make all the difference in the room. While it’s easy to say that the most talented dancer always gets the job, that isn’t always true. Sometimes, it is about the way you look, so why not show the adjudicators the best version of you! You don’t have to go out and buy a whole new outfit, but even just taking the time to see what you have in your closet, and what looks good together, and what looks good on you, might be a good idea! Who knows… maybe that shirt crumpled up in the back of your closet really makes your eyes pop, and that’s all it takes to get the director’s attention? Taking a bit of time to find the right outfit can really make a huge difference.
17. Performance Makeup
When was the last time you replaced any of your go-to stage makeup products? If it’s been a while, maybe 2024 is the time to go ahead and toss out some of the old stuff. Wearing old makeup can cause eye and skin irritation, so especially if you plan to be performing a lot this coming year (or are simply manifesting it!), you might want to purchase something new. The basics every dancer needs include foundation, matte powder, blush, eyeshadow, mascara, eyeliner, and an eyebrow pencil. You could also get a setting spray, which would help keep makeup on your face a little longer, despite the sweat and costume changes! While stage makeup doesn’t have to be expensive, it should be something that stays on under the hot lights and sweat from dancing in costumes that may be heavier than your normal rehearsal-wear. Some affordable brands that many dancers have been known to reach for include E.L.F., Maybelline, Nyx, and Wet ‘n Wild.
We all have our go-to, pre-dance class snack, but why not try something new this year? Snacks fuel our bodies for class, and so why not try to eat something that will help our bodies keep going, even during the longest, toughest, dance classes. To sustain your energy throughout a long day of dancing, think about having a combination of carbs, protein, and fats, like yogurt with nuts and granola, tuna salad with crackers and fruit, or a turkey and cheese wrap with peppers and tomato. Trying to snack mindfully can help make sure your dancing at the end of class is just as energetic as it is at the end.
19. Water Bottle
Hydration is key, so why not add a cute bottle to your 2024 bucket list? Drinking water is so important for dancers, who are constantly sweating and at risk of overheating. Drinking water regulates your body temperature and prevents dehydration. If you struggle to remember to drink enough water, gifting yourself a new water bottle can be the motivation you need to keep on drinking water. Some brands that are not only cute, but also leak-proof include Takeya, Hydroflask, CamelBak, and THERMOS.
For most professional dancers, having another job is necessary to help make ends meet. If you feel like yours is holding you back, why not make 2024 the year you find something new and fulfilling to spend your time doing? Whether it be babysitting another family, a new barista job, a different online gig, or even an original small business idea, it could be really refreshing to devote time to something new that still pays, and supports you as you continue to live your dancer dreams!
21. Outside of Dance Hobby
This one is tricky. Most dancers grow up with dance as their hobby, so transitioning to dance as a job leaves many people without a release outside of the workday. Finding a hobby to explore in 2024 could not only be fun, but could boost your mental health, and introduce you to people outside the dance world! Hobbies could be anything, from cooking to arts and crafts to playing an instrument to video games, and so on!
22. Mindset in Class
What do you think about during class? Are you there with something in mind, or do you just show up and see what happens? Do you get frustrated when something goes wrong? Is the way you go into class serving you, or helping you make the most of your class? Taking class with a positive mindset allows your brain to learn, and be able to accomplish more! 2024 could be the year you go into class with a new attitude, a new mindset, or perspective when you head into dance class, so that you can be your best dancer self!
23. Strategies for Improvement
In a similar vein, going into 2024 with a strategy for improvement could be what takes your dancing to the next level. Take a few moments to think about yourself as a dancer, and to consider your strengths and weaknesses. Once you narrow them down, you can start to put together a strategy for how you want to either continue to build your strengths, or how you want to develop the areas where you might be weaker. For example, if you want to improve your pirouettes, you might put together a schedule for when you want to do some additional exercises that could strengthen your relevé, or commit to taking class with a teacher you know works on pirouettes in class. Having a strategy can help you stay accountable to yourself, and be a guide to help you grow.
While we denounced New Year’s resolutions at the beginning of the article, having a new goal for 2024 could be beneficial to helping you stay motivated throughout the year. Examples of some positive, attainable goals could be to become more comfortable when asked to improvise, to improve your stamina, or to perform in a show by the end of the year. Goals can give us motivation and inspiration, and focus our energy towards a tangible idea. If you have a goal you wish to achieve this year, try writing it down and sticking it somewhere you will see it every day, like above your mirror or on your phone’s lock screen, so you don’t forget what you’re striving towards.