The Dancer’s Journal

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So I’ve already mentioned this journal in my What’s In My Dance Bag post, but I really wanted to do a full review with pictures, because it really is an amazingly useful and beautiful product. I found this in the Bloch store in Covent Garden, just behind the till as I was paying, and I bought it. I didn’t even see all of the amazing things inside until after I got home, so as a self-confessed stationery addict, I was super excited!

This journal is made by Danceworks Publishing and it is a great tool for dancers of any level. You might think that you have a good idea of where you’re at with your dancing, the areas you need to work on, and your teacher’s corrections for you, but when it comes to putting these things down on paper, you might realise that you’re not actually as clear on them as you think you are!

Getting really clear about where you are now in different aspects of your dancing, and equally clear about where you want to be, allows you to actually start taking the necessary action to move towards those goals. Keeping a written record of your corrections in class is very important- I can’t stress it enough. It not only gives you something to come back to, to check what your teacher has been saying to you, but the action of writing it down helps you to better remember and understand it. Having a written record of all your corrections also helps you to identify patterns- are you constantly being corrected on the same things? How can you work to overcome these problems?

This journal isn’t just about writing corrections: there are pages where you can chart your progress in different technical and personal areas. This has really helped me to spot my biggest areas for improvement and separate them, because as dancers we are constantly working on so many things that they can all get tangled together in your mind and seem overwhelming. You might be panicking and thinking “I have so little balance, and I really need to work on my turns, and why can’t I get my leg up to the front?!”, when really what you need to work on is core strength, which is very do-able! Being able to come back to these pages and fill in where you’ve improved also gives a much-needed reminder that you are progressing and your work is actually paying off.

There are pages for scrapbooking where you can stick your favourite dance pictures, quotes, doodles and notes, as well as space to write what you’re grateful for. It’s important as dancers to stay motivated, and taking time to fill in these pages with the things that inspire you really helps with that, and you can look at these pages whenever you need a boost. The journal already contains lots of beautiful pictures, quotes and tips; there are even a couple of drawings that you can colour in, and a pouch at the back to keep notes, pictures and cuttings safe until you can stick them in.

There are also pages to help you keep track of important dates such as studio term dates, competitions, exams, and various appointments. It’s a good place to keep all of your dance-related information together and organised, rather than having a notebook for corrections, one for notes from appointments etc., a diary and a calendar.

I highly recommend this journal. I know that I don’t have a bad word to say about it, so I should just say that I am being in no way sponsored or paid to write these things- I just want to share something great I have discovered. I absolutely love mine, I genuinely do use it every single day, and I think it has helped me as a dancer. Everyone knows how important the practical things are such as cross-training, focusing in class, listening to your teacher and eating well, but having mental focus, inspiration, and awareness of your strengths, areas for improvement and goals are SO important in getting to where you need to be. I talk about the importance of mental training in this post, so I recommend reading it if you haven’t already… this journal goes hand-in-hand with the principles I have outlined there.

I also like how personalised you can make this. I fill mine in with different coloured pens, and the scrapbooking pages are full of pictures I’ve cut out from dance magazines, newspapers and fitness catalogues. The pens I’m using right now, which are pictured, are the coloured fineliners by Stabilo, but I also love the Staedtler ones too.

Here are some more detailed pictures of just a few of the different pages inside- photos actually by me for a change (hey, living with two photographers can make you lazy about taking your own pictures!).

 

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Charting my progress
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On the left is a page I’ve filled in with class notes and corrections, the right is a scrapbook page I’ve filled with pictures for inspiration
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More class notes and corrections, and another scrapbook page I’ve filled up. I went for a pale pink theme on this one.
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I love colouring in! I’m only part way through colouring in this mandala of creativity.
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Here I’ve used some of the “dates with dance” space to make sure I have everything I need for a recent audition
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Here I’ve filled in some of the blank pages with notes and exercises from a physiotherapy appointment

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this review, and the insight into how I use my journal. If you do anything different with yours, let me know in the comments, because I’d love some new ideas on ways to get creative with mine!

Until next time!

Jessica x

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