How to Become a Better Dancer: 6 Secrets for Leveling Up Your Technique

When I was in college a professor  whose job it was to teach me how to become a dancer told a horrifying, yet true limerick: 

“Somewhere there is someone working harder and longer than you and when they meet you they will beat you.” 

And while this might send any over-achiever into a “hard-work-spiral,” It’s not untrue.  Anyone pursuing a professional dance career has been to an audition and thought 

“Wow, everyone is so good.”  

Which is often quickly followed by, 

“I need to get my booty to class!”

And while it is true that class time for a professional dancer never ends. There is a lot more to becoming a better dancer than just going to class. 

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First of all:

It’s important that we define what “better” is. Are you wanting to be better at a specific style? Are you wanting more control? Or are you just feeling “blah” in class and hoping to sharpen up your skills overall? For our purposes, let’s define “better” as leveling up your technique. 

Because at the end of the day having more power, more control, and more agility will improve your dance technique in any style of dance you want to pursue. 

Sound good to you? Good.

Learn how to become a better dancer by following these six steps:

First way to learn how to become a better dancerActually Warm Up

Let me guess, the first thing you do when warming-up for class or an audition is drop into a deep second position plié, hands on you knees and you alternate dropping your shoulders forward and back to get a great stretch. 

Did I get it right?

Well, what if I told you that while this feels great, it actually isn’t helping prepare your body to dance at all. In fact, static stretching of the lower limbs has been shown to negatively impact explosive movement performance for up to 24 hours poststretching! What does that mean? It means that sitting in a split or hanging out in a frog before auditions is actually impeding your performance when it comes to jumps and power. Now, I know how it feels to have tight hips and thighs before an audition, but dynamic stretches (stretches that move in and out of a position) can loosen you up just as well, while simultaneously warming up your body.

So what does a good warm-up look like?

A good warm up should increase heart-rate and blood flow so that more oxygen can be moved to the muscles. This will activate the connection between your nerves and muscles which will improve your efficiency of movement. In fact, this study showed that a well created warm up could improve performance in 79% of criterions examined! 

Now, if you’re focusing on how to become a better dancer I know you are an over achiever. So let me emphasize this: a warmup should not exhaust you. But a warm-up should raise your heart rate and *maybe* even get you sweating a bit. This can be accomplished by performing a few compound bodyweight exercises like air squats, push-ups, hollow holds, cossack squats, and dynamic stretches. 

If you’re still struggling with tightness in certain areas, foam roll. Studies have shown that foam rolling can help loosen muscles without the adverse affects seen  in static stretching.


Contrary to what you may have been taught, weightlifting is an incredible cross training tool for dancers. In fact, I’m willing to promise you that weightlifting is absolutely the key to how to become a better dancer. At dancers who lift we’ve seen dancers go from “not being a turner” to whipping out triples in class without even thinking about it. We’ve seen extensions get higher, and control increase exponentially. 

But more than anything, dancers who start a weight training program report higher levels of confidence in class, in auditions, and on stage. Confidence is the number one thing that will set you apart from other dancers. Because you will no longer be worrying about landing that jump, controlling that battement, or completing that turn. Instead, your mind will be free to enjoy the movement. To show everyone in the room why you do this in the first place. 

threeDynamic Stretching

Like me, you may have been taught that it takes 30 seconds for your muscles to fully relax into a stretch. This information lead to years of sitting in stretches for 30 seconds, taking a deep inhale, then relaxing deeper into the stretch on the exhale. And repeating every 30 seconds for about two minutes. While this is a good way to work on the flexibility of your muscles. It’s actually not an effective way to increase your mobility and can actually be detrimental to your performance if used during a warm up as it limits your power. 

Instead, we recommend dynamic stretching.

Dynamic stretching has been shown to improve speed, agility, and acceleration. This is because it requires that you actively tighten your muscles and move your joints through their full range of motion while you stretch. 

Think about it. When you’re doing a Battement or a Firebird, your muscles and joints are not relaxed in a stretched position. No. They are actively working through a range of motion. Dynamic stretching works through a muscle or joints full range of motion, strengthening the end points to ultimately increase the range of motion. You want to learn how to become a better dancer? Start using dynamic stretches consistently.

Some examples of dynamic stretches are: hip windshield wipers, hip lift offs, low lunge rocks, squat twist and reaches, arms circles, leg swings, and so many more. 

Looking for some mobility flows?

Scroll through the Dancers Who Lift Instagram Reels and follow along!

Fourth way of how to become a better dancer Fuel Yourself

This one is a biggie. I see dancers online bragging about their Cold brew and granola bar before an audition or rehearsal and I think, 

“No. Gorgeous, gorgeous, dancers eat a balanced snack before they dance!”

Have you ever been in audition or rehearsal and felt like you couldn’t retain the combo or pick it up as well as usual? That’s likely because you hadn’t consumed enough protein beforehand. 

Ever felt like, despite taking four dance classes a week three HIIT classes, and walking all over the city you were getting exhausted by the end of a 20 minute audition? That’s likely because you aren’t consuming enough carbohydrates in your diet. 

Ever felt like that last hour of rehearsal was ten times slower than the rest of the day? You probably needed a little more fat to carry you through. 

The reality is, dancers are athletes and we need to fuel our bodies accordingly. Because of how active we are, both in and out of the studio, it is incredibly necessary that we consume a balanced diet of protein, fats, and yes, carbs. 

I promise you, once you start eating enough. You’ll see massive improvements in your dance technique.


I already know you are rolling your eyes. But the fact of the matter is, watching two hours of TV at the end of your day is absolutely not enough rest for you to become a better dancer. One of the most important ways you can work toward improving your dance technique is giving your body enough time to recover and get stronger between classes, workouts, and auditions. 

Constant exercise, and that includes walking all over town, does not give our body enough time to rebuild between training sessions and rehearsals. And what happens when we don’t have enough time to recover? We fatigue faster, our precision and control lags, and our risk for injury increases exponentially. 

As dancers we put our bodies through insane amounts of stress; mentally, physically, and emotionally. Every day we push our minds and bodies to the limit and on top of that we are striving to achieve our dreams. Without rest, that stress can wreak havoc on our bodies leading to lack of choreographic retention and lazy technique. 

So, want your technique to be insanely consistent? REST. 


You want to know how to become a better dancer? Be consistent. If there is anything you take away from this entire blog let it be this. Small consistent steps toward a goal will always better than inconsistent leaps.

Whether you are trying to get stronger, improve your mobility, or balance your diet, consistency is the key to your success.

And the best thing about consistency is, you don’t have to do everything all at once. Maybe you start by committing to doing fifteen minutes of dynamic stretching every other day. Then, as that becomes consistent, you add in eating one extra serving of protein each day. Then after that maybe you start lifting weights two times per week–even one time per week–until you get the hang of it. 

Maybe you’re doing everything on this list. Maybe where you want to gain consistency is showing up once a week to a technique class. Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to start!

Consistency does not have to be perfect. It just has to be consistent. 

So, where do you think you’ll start today? Let us know which of these helped you learn how to become a better dancer in the comments or on our instagram @Dancerswholift!

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