From the Ground Up: The Challenges of Directing a Dance Team

“Whatever good things we build end up building us.” –Jim Rohn

Some believe that the director receives all the glory in a team’s success, but that is never the case. Success is only accomplished when the team feels that they have done it themselves. A true director values the opinions and beliefs of his teammates, while dealing with the challenges that come with directing. You’ll face emotions, self-doubt, and negativity as you focus on guiding your team.

A Strong Foundation Creates a Strong Team

Managing your emotions is important in making the right decisions. An emotional decision is brash, thoughtless, and selfish. Pull yourself out of the picture, assess the challenge, and plan a solution.

“Empower yourself by creating a solid foundation of beliefs, morals, and ideas. Create a foundation that will keep you honest and liberate you from the pursuit of validation.”

A strong foundation eliminates self-doubt, as self-doubt is the bane of every director. One must realize their own value, without succumbing to arrogance and stubbornness. A strong foundation breeds confidence within yourself and exudes it to the people around you. If you don’t believe in yourself why should others? Directors inspire belief in others because they believe in themselves.

Focus On Your Team, Enjoy the Journey

Directors must focus on controlling what they can and relieve themselves from what they cannot. People talk shit. It happens. You can’t control the shit that comes out of assholes. The community has come a long way in reshaping itself to the positive atmosphere we live in. I remember hearing about fights in the parking lot before, during, and after dance competitions. Stories of individuals visiting rival team studios to confront them about some petty talk. It’s not as raw and gully as it used to be, but it doesn’t mean that people have stopped expressing negativity. Focus on your team, and enjoy the journey with them.

“Don’t get caught up in the politics of the community. It’s not progressive, and it kills the passion for others who have fallen or just begun to fall in love with urban dance.”

As a director it’s your job to control your team’s culture, learning environment, and attitude. Everything else doesn’t matter. There is no such thing as a perfect family. Each team will experience disagreements in some point along the way. This is why communication is vital. Don’t be afraid to talk and reach out your teammates. Practice empathy and understanding. Remain firm but also bend with the wind. Allow your team to have the opportunity to talk to you in private, and practice an open door policy. It’s important to be transparent and remain consistent across the board. So many problems and misunderstandings can be prevented with a single conversation.

Lastly, respect. Respect your teammates as dancers and individuals. Your teammates are your friends first, and it’s important to foster that relationship as you guys share the journey.