As a dancer, most of your time is dedicated to dance either in the studio or on stage. For many dancers, this means several hours a week dancing, and if you’re not in school, dance might even be your full-time job. Because of this, you might think that you don’t have time to seriously invest in your other interests. The opposite is actually true. Investing time and effort into side projects will not only benefit you, it will also benefit your dance career.

Exercise Your Creative Muscles

Dancing is a creative outlet. Like any other creative activity, idea blocks and lack of inspiration can affect your performance. When you take a break, even for only a couple hours a week, you exercise different parts of your brain. This mental exercise can keep your brain from getting blocked up or tired from obsessing over one task. So, next time you think that you don’t have time for your other hobbies because they will take away from your progress as a dancer, think again. An hour of journaling or playing a video game could keep you from suffering from creative block next time you’re in the studio.

Find Time

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One of the hardest parts about being a dancer with other hobbies or interestsĀ isĀ finding the time. Even as a young dancer, you are probably spending three or more hours in the studio! Your free time only shrinks further when you account for other important tasks like school and, of course, sleeping. Don’t let this discourage you. You might not realize it, but we all have small, otherwise wasted windows of time scattered throughout every day. These windows are perfect for taking a little time to do other things you love whether they’re coloring, reading, or even knitting. Do what you love!

Don’t Treat It Like Work

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It really doesn’t matter what you’re up to. Just don’t do anything you don’t enjoy. If you aren’t into a project, whether it involves dance or not, it becomes work. And, work usually isn’t when we find inspiration or get out creative juices flowing. Whatever your other interests are, if you feel like you have to buckle down and do them, they probably aren’t helping develop your creative process.

Now is the time to stop feeling like the things you do outside of dance aren’t valuable to your dance career. Maybe you don’t have goals for them. Maybe you invest less time in them. Maybe they’re silly or even a little embarrassing. They’re still helping you develop as a creative thinker and an artist! What more could you ask for as a dancer?