Lessons from dancing in college

Jan. 30, 2018, 1:00 a.m.

I started dancing my freshman year at Stanford. I’ve been in two dance groups over the past couple of years, and I’ve learned a lot about dance, like how to pick up choreography quickly or how to navigate tech time. Along the way, I also picked up some unconventional lessons. Here are some of the unexpected things I’ve learned while dancing in college.

How to use mirrors for everything

No, I’m not checking myself out all the time. As a dancer, you use mirrors to see what the choreographer is doing, to match the people around you and to observe how your body moves. Once you start dancing, you’ll probably notice mirrors and reflective surfaces more than you normally would. I don’t have eyes in the back of my head, but mirrors come pretty close.

That ordering water at a boba place is totally okay

Imagine this: You’ve worked up a sweat during practice, and now you’re getting boba with your dance friends. The first sip tastes so good … then the second sip … but in two minutes, your drink is gone!

Why? It’s because you’re thirsty; you just exercised!

More than once, I’ve ordered a cup of water along with my milk tea. That way, I can quench my thirst with the water and savor my boba, instead of chugging the boba due to thirst. If anyone judges you for having boba and water at the same time … you’re smarter than they are.

How to stretch and put on shoes at the same time

Roble Gym has a no-street-shoes policy, so I keep a pair of shoes just for dance. There have been times at practice when people were already warming up and I needed to change my shoes, but I didn’t want to miss stretching. There’s no shame in tying your shoelaces while kneeling in a lunge stretch.

There is nothing quite like performing

My love of performing has really grown in college. Even if it’s Week 9 and I’ve had 10+ hours of practice during the past week, I still feel invigorated once I’m onstage. The cheering is loud, and the energy is high. I’ve worked all quarter for this moment, and it’s finally here.

I know that performing isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s been a big part of my college experience. Once I graduate, I won’t forget the things I’ve learned from dance – so don’t be surprised if you see me ordering milk tea and water from a boba place.


Contact Kristen Lee at klee23 ‘at’ stanford.edu. 

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