A Research Paper created by Kalpana Patel
(Relationship and Wellness Coaching, UNITED STATES)
Me And Dance Academy (MAD) is one of the most popular Dance Academies in Orange County. The Academy is a huge platform to showcase the talents of many young talented artists anywhere from age 5 to even 40 and above! MAD hosts annual shows where the girls perform what they have learnt through the year. This show is a grand event called Jashan (meaning celebration), which is attended by a large crowd of audience. The show is graced by the presence of Terence Lewis. Terence Lewis is an Indian dancer and choreographer, specializing in Contemporary dance. He is known as a choreographer and judge in reality dance series. He runs his ‘Terence Lewis Contemporary Dance Company’ in Mumbai, which holds dance workshops both in India and abroad. He has choreographed multiple Bollywood films.
I was invited by the owner of a Dance academy to come in to the studio and coach a group of dancers. It was a group of 11 beautiful dancers. They were from different ethnic backgrounds and were from range of age 20-30 years. These were the dancers who would be performing for an up coming show. It was going to be a huge show and girls were supposed to be performing with a celebrity. These girls were going through the feelings of nervousness, anxiety, finding it difficult to stay motivated. Being that I have already done a few coaching sessions informally at a local domestic violence shelter that I volunteer at, I already was aware that I love the energy of a group session. It always leaves me feeling energized. So naturally I jumped at this opportunity.
During my first session with the girls, I started off by introducing myself. I explained to them that I was a life coach. Not so sure if they were completely aware about what a life coach is, I briefed them on the work of a life coach. I explained about how in coaching, it is the client who has all the answers and that the coach only helped the client find the answers. I explained how it was the client who was powerful and that coaching was a process where they would unfold what works for them. It was important that they knew that my only reason for being there was to support them and to help them accomplish their goals related to the upcoming event. I had to create the safe and trusting space for them to share what they were feeling and how things were going. I spent some time getting to know them, what drew them to dancing, etc. I gave out blank papers and asked them to tell me what the upcoming show meant for them and what were the challenges that they were facing at the moment.
Reading their feedback, I understood that each one of the girls were passionate about dancing and did feel the importance of this show. This was an enthusiastic group of girls who really wanted to do their best at the show; however, they were beginning to feel demotivated, nervous, & anxious etc due to a common factor, which was the dance director. They all felt that she was too hard on them and was looking for perfection and that brought about a feeling of discomfort, which began to grow. This feeling was starting to affect their ability to perform at their best.
After this, I spent some time working with them to help identify what were the positives of this training experience. I wanted to know what was working for them. Being a strong believer in the Law of Attraction, I wanted to harness the use of positive focus to help them accomplish their goal & help them feel relaxed through the process. I also realized there was an interesting piece to this that I hadn’t anticipated, which was their interactions with the dance director & how this was impacting their performance.
I used visualization to get them to visualize their common goal, which was being their very best at the final show. I guided them through a creative visualization exercise where I helped them imagine themselves at the event, in their costumes, looking beautiful, feeling relaxed, confident and enthusiastic. I helped them visualize the end result, their common goal, which was being on the stage at the performance, at their very best!
I also got them to do some guided meditation to help with the anxiety and to help them stay focused.
Some team building exercises were used to help them connect as a team and be open to feedback from the team to help improve. I had them sit in a circle and had each one say something positive about the next person. This I felt would help them bond as a team and help build their confidence. They were also asked to sit in a circle, hold hands and do a guided visualization, with each if them visualizing the final performance with each one giving it their very best and making the show a success! I got them to be open to receiving negative feedback from the team and look at it positively in a way that this would help them get from good to best!
I encouraged them to continue practicing the visualization exercise on a regular basis to anchor in that feeling of the positive end result. I also recommended that they practice meditation daily to help them feel relaxed through the process.
I brought to the dancer’s attention that the negative feedback that was making them feel demotivated was actually what they could use in a positive way to help each one perfect their dance moves, focus etc.
Throughout this whole process, I stayed open to feedback & encouraged them to let me know what else I could do to help them with this. I also spent one on one time with some of the girls who felt the need for more coaching.
In a few days the quality of the practice sessions improved. The girls began to feel focused during the practice sessions. The talking behind the dance director’s back, stopped. The girls started to look forward to the rehearsals and giving it their best. They started looking forward to the show.
I printed out some cards with positive affirmations and them out gave to the girls so that that they could use these to keep them focused on their common goal, which was making the show a success.
This was an extremely gratifying experience for me for various reasons such as, my love for dance, working with a group of women, helping them seeing themselves as being empowered.
All of them mentioned to me how helpful this was for them. Some of them gave me hugs; some had tears of joy in their eyes. I was invited to the show and the performance was awesome. I look forward to doing more sessions like this with the girls in the future.
The show was a great success and the Director of the dance company sent this feedback.
Thank You Kalpana Patel for coaching the dancers of M.A.D. BOLLYWOOD DANCE COMPANY. With so little time and so much to accomplish creatively, it wouldn’t have been possible without your coaching. I saw tremendous results on the day of the show, dancers were calm and collected all throughout the rehearsal schedule, your coaching kept them focused towards the big goal, and they learnt to accept and understand negative feedback which resulted in each dancer working on their weaknesses and perform strongly as a Professional Dance Company. I personally thank you once again, and look forward to working with you and receiving more coaching personally and for my company in future. You Rock Kalpana Patel!!! – Founder & Artistic Director, M.A.D. BOLLYWOOD DANCE COMPANY INC.