How to set goals

How to set goals! 


Dance is a wonderful open-ended dance form, meaning whether your dancer is doing it for fun, to improve skills for another sport, or maybe they want to be a professional dancer. There are several lanes on the route to becoming the dancer of their dreams and overall dance goals. As supporting dance parent(s) we want to make sure our child is on the right path to achieving their dance goals.  


Here is how you can help! 


Ask them what their goals with dance are! 

  • What do you want out of dance? 


Your dancer spends a lot of their time rehearsing and performing, and more rehearsing and more performing, they are in all their classes and learning a lot in their respective classes. At a certain age, dance starts to become more than just a fun thing to do and your dancer starts to want more and more from it, this is the time you should ask your dancer(s) what they want out of dance.   


If your dancer is just wanting to have fun and stay active then that is also just as wonderful, but if they are specific with their goals and wants from dance then your conversation should be something along the lines of… Do you love to dance? What are you wanting from the dance? How do we get you there? Do you want extra practice?  


SMART -E  Goals 

What are Smart Goals? 

The SMART acronym was originally developed for setting business goals by George Doran in the 1980s and has been adopted by many sports psychologists as an effective goal-setting tool. Using smart goals for dancers or any style such as ballet, hip hop, contemporary, or tap dance for example is a great way to ensure your dance goals are achievable, motivating, and give you focus. 


Breaking Down the SMARTe Acronym 

S – Specific Goal 

You can’t work towards an unspecific goal, or a vague, overly generalized goal. Trying will only frustrate you and set you up for failure. Creating a specific goal narrows your focus and it forces you to identify exactly what it is you want to achieve. How can we make other generalized goals more specific? Let’s put a few to the test. 

Have a stronger core. Be able to consistently engage my abdomen during movement sequences. 
Have a stronger core. Be able to increase my daily sit-up count by 5 per day for one month. 
Have better technique. Have completely straight legs in my leaps. 
Have better technique. Have a straight supporting leg when I am on rèlevé 

M – Measurable Goal 

Now that you’ve made your goal specific, it is important to keep yourself or your dancer accountable. Accountability is a lifelong trait that every dancer needs on the path of their dance dreams, whether that be professional, fun, or professional education route. Giving a quantity, for example, is how you can make those goals measurable. For example, I will do X amount of Y. I will do 4 clean pirouette turns. I will hold my rèlevé for 30 seconds. This is much more helpful than just saying, “I need to do more of Y,” because it gives you something to aim for. 

A – Attainable Goal 

A smart goal has to be realistic –it has to be something that we can actually attain, otherwise, it won’t happen. Is this goal something that’s within my reach? Is it something that won’t compromise my safety or health? Is it accomplishable? Sometimes we set unrealistic expectations for ourselves before we’ve considered obstacles or limitations, which is why this step is so important. For example, being able to do a side aerial by tomorrow is not an attainable goal if you’ve never done a cartwheel. 

R – Relevant Goal 

This step is important to consider because it considers the “why” of it all. Is your goal relevant to what you want to improve? Will it help you? Is it necessary? Is it needed? Having a straight supporting leg for turns is relevant because it’s the correct form, it’s necessary for the successful execution of the turns, and muscles that support the leg and stabilize alignment are activated when the leg is straight. 

T – Timely Goal 

Having a timely goal is another way of ensuring that you will get it done in a certain time frame that you are working with. Saying you want to get your splits on the left side is a good goal, but saying you want to get your splits on the left side by May is a timely goal. It gives you an end date, and it holds you accountable. Remembering timing is important and know that things do not happen overnight or over a couple of weeks. THINGS TAKE TIME 

E – Exciting Goal 

At The Studance LAB, we think smart goals should also be exciting goals. This brings us back to the why, I want to get my left split by May because I want to be able to do them in the recital dance correctly and I want to have both splits down and prefect. Making a goal exciting is a way to remind ourselves that we will benefit from achieving the goal. 

How to Use the Formula to Create SMARTe Dance Goals 

Now that we’ve gone over what a SMARTe Goal is, let’s put the acronym to work for us by transforming a generalized goal into a SMARTe goal. 

Generalized goal: to get better at turns. It’s a good goal, but it’s not very specific. Making this into a smarte goal might look like the following: 

S(Specific Goal) – Consistent and clean Double/Triple pirouette. 
M(Measurable) – I will do 20 calf rises on each side and hold the last one as long as I can to better my balance. I can record myself to see proper alignment and posture. 
A(Attainable) – Yes, I can consistently execute a technically correct single pirouette. 
R(Relevant) – Yes. A double pirouette is an important skill to have, and it’s also in my recital dance. 
T(Timely) –  I will aim to be able to do one and a half turns in one month, and a double turn within two months. 
E(Exciting) – I want to be able to do a  double pirouette so I can progress to the next level,  look good at the recital and possibly move up in classes. 

So, is making a goal SMARTe as simple as plugging it into the formula? Well, yes and no. Making existing goals smarter is just the beginning, but it’s up to you to follow through with taking the steps to achieve it. That is why SMARTe Goals are so smart –they help us plan the pathway to our destination, dividing the journey up into small, reasonable steps, so we can take one step at a time. 

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