Monday, 20 June 2011

Dancing Journals

  Have you ever used a journal? Most people have. There are so many ways to utilise them! Diaries, food journals, fitness journals, writing poetry or prose, journals to record vet records or baby's first moments, a bodybuilders reps or a gardeners notes.

  Journals are devoted to important parts of your life, to record things and save them for future use - whether for entertainment, sentimental value, or to increase a knowledge or skill.

  I've been using journals my whole life. When I started dancing and my teacher suggested using a journal, putting the two together came naturally for me. However, if you're not journal crazy and nuts for stationary like *some* of us, here are some helpful tips!

  • Use your journal by date. Record any class/workshop/practice and take notes. Who is teaching? What is the focus? What key points do you need to remember or work on? What have you improved upon? Write down any questions you have to ask at the end of the class. You could even include a blank page at the end to glue in a picture from the workshop.
  • Use your journal by move. Alphabetized, categorized by fast/slow or by levels, whatever works for you. Write a brief description of the move and then as you learn more from teachers take notes for each one specifically. If a good metaphor is shared, one that really helps you feel the move, write it down! If the teacher mentions something about posture you keep forgetting, write it down!
  • Use your journal as a scrapbook! Include concert and workshop tickets, notes from fellow dancers, diary entries, music playlists, funny stories - anything that will be fun to look back on!
  • Don't think your memory is better than it really is. We say "Oh I don't need to write this down - I'll remember it" - and then lo and behold we forget! This has happened a lot to me, am I the only one?Write it down!!! ;)

  I'm sure there are many more ideas, themes and lay-outs you could use for your journal. If you don't have one, you might want to have a look at the different options you have before purchasing one. You might take into consideration your budget, the number, size and quality of the pages, the features, and of course, it has to be preeetty so that you want to use it!

  Now a little bit about my own journal as an example! I use Moleskines for most of my journals. My absolute favourite is their sketchbook, which I use as a diary. Their agenda's are also great!

  However I wanted to list the ATS moves and have room at the end for other things, and no Moleskine had enough pages. I had to resort to looking outside of the Moleskine realm. That's when I found this little beauty:

Isn't she lovely? Made by 'Mudlark' this little journal dubbed 'Kiko' was $14.99 at a Chapters store in Canada. You can also get her (and her beautiful sisters) online <<here>>.

It has a CD shaped pocket in the front to keep music or notes:

And the pages are all decorated just as extravagantly as the outside, with a special place for the date/move as well!

Okay, so my plan for this journal is to list the moves alphabetically by fast/slow and take notes on each of them. I also have extra pages at the back to include other details - like which moves are folkloric, which moves are in the Shimmy family etc. I hope it will be a great tool for learning!

And how fitting is the quote in the back, hmm?

If you are interested in learning more about how to use a dance journal, please leave a comment below or email me at and I will post more about it soon, based on your questions!

Have a wonderful day!


  1. I'm a huge believer in keeping dance journals as well, particularly for recording workshops with high profile dancers. My journal has a lovely page design printed in three different colors to form unique sections. I've divided my journal into a Cabaret section, a Tribal Fusion/ATS section, and a Miscellaneous section. In the first two sections I record corrections (both those directed to me specifically and those intended for others in the class) and interesting step/combinations. In the miscellaneous section, I store ideas for group formations, snippets of choreography, tips for formulating my personal practice, and inspirational quotes. I always make sure to record the teacher, date, and location so if I have trouble deciphering my notes, I can recreate the scene in my head to jog my memory. It's also a great place to store contact info for all the amazing dancers you meet during your dance travels!

  2. That's a great lay-out idea! Especially for those that practice more than one type of dance. Thank-you for sharing! :)