Every dancer at the D’Arcy School knows 2 things. My favorite word is “Hop” and my least favorite word is “Can’t.”
“Hop” is easily the word I use most at dance making it the automatic choice for top favorite word [even though I almost changed it to “belly flop” after one of the beginners told me that was her favorite and I realized how much fun it was to say it].
“Can’t” has always been my least favorite word, but even more so at dance. When I first started teaching dance, the most common phrase I would hear is “I can’t do that!” This phrase is not only untrue, but also knocks down a dancer’s inner confidence and makes them shut down without even knowing it.
This word was used most when learning something new and challenging. If a dancer was unable to get the move or step right away and saw another dancer who was able to do it the first time, they automatically said, “I can’t do it” and asked for a replacement.
For the past few years, I have constantly corrected my dancers when they said “can’t.” I tell them they are not allowed to use this word in class and to find a different way of saying it. For instance, a few weeks ago, one of my dancers went to say, “can’t” and then corrected herself and said, “I am not able to right now.” This mindset is much more positive and healthy. She realized she did not know how to do the movement, but eventually would learn. She indirectly made herself successful without even realizing it.
Now, I am not always saying every dancer is going to get every move I teach them. My main goal in removing the word “can’t” at class is to stress the importance of hard work and practice* (my second favorite word). I want my dancers to understand that not everything is going to come easy for them in life, but if they work hard enough, good thing will come!
‘“Change “I can’t” into “I can” and pretty soon you will say “I did.”’
Oh and by the way, that same dancer came into class last week and had the new movement down perfectly.
Have a great week 🙂