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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Wolfgram

10,000 Hours and Other Arbitrary Numbers that Mean 'Keep Pushing'

My partner and I recently took home the National Championship title in Amateur Adult Prechamp Smooth, among a few other titles. Less than a week later, we were back in the studio preparing for next year. We both started dancing just under 3 years ago and partnered with each other about a year after that. Although neither of us had danced before, we were both athletes, me being a martial artist and her a figure skater. In some sense we knew how to use our bodies, but dance has been a very different game from anything we’ve done. I wish I could say we were more talented or had more experience than our competition, but when you get right down to it, we were both just committed to giving it our all, willing to wake up early and stay up late.

You could write a book about how little we know and how much we do wrong and all of the abundant flaws in our dancing, but there is one thing I really love about our partnership: we never stop pushing. Both of us understand that success is built on how much time you spend and moreso on how effective you are with it. Being a successful dancer is not about having the sparkliest dress or the most coaching; it’s about the hours you spend in the studio polishing your craft. Experts say that it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill, or in this case, learn how to dance. That in mind, racking up those hours isn’t about getting a tally -- there’s no magical celebration when your clicker hits 10,000. What really matters is that you’re effective in the time you spend. Yes, hours matter too, but we need to use these hours to push ourselves to our fullest capacity and achieve the best results. Set priorities when you practice. Dance on your own. Track your progress, listen to your coaches, and most of all, work your butt off. If you commit this and decide that you’re going to spend as many hours as it takes to reach your goals and to never stop pushing along the way? It doesn’t matter what your tally is -- you’re bound for success. The truth is, the number 10,000 is pretty meaningless. It just matters that you spend a lot of time pushing, working hard, focused on achieving your goals. It could be 15,000, 20,000, any number you want.

But if you like 10,000, then hell, we’ve got 6,500 more to go.

(Published in Sheer Dance magazine May 2019)

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