After watching Thursday’s “So You Think You Can Dance” results show, I am convinced.
There is no faster path to improvement than getting coached.
If you don’t know the show, here’s a quick synopsis. Dancers audition, 20 get picked for the show, they dance each Wednesday, and two are voted out each Thursday.
Along the way, each Wednesday they perform a dance that is choreographed and coached. One choreographer creates the dance, coaches them for the week, allows them to perform it on Wednesday… and the judges critique them immediately after the dance.
Next week, if they are still there, it starts all over.
Over the course of nine weeks, the dancers receive repeated critiques and suggestions for improvement. And this Thursday, I could truly see how much improvement occurs because of these sessions.
In the first season, a group of hip-hop street dancers all auditioned for the show. Over the next three seasons, two of these dancers made it to the final twenty. They received coaching and critiques in dance styles they had never done before. And Thursday, the whole dance crew was brought back to give a guest performance.
When you look back at the dance crew’s initial appearance it was very rough and obviously learned on urban streets. It was good but didn’t have some of the typical professional spit and polish.
When they gave their guest performance, you would have seen a completely different choreography. It was smoother. It incorporated other styles. I saw contemporary movements blended in with their own street dancing. They had taken all the different styles, techniques, and methods that they learned and made them their own, discarding what didn’t work for them and incorporating whatever resounded with them.
This also works in any other discipline. Athletes have coaches. Pageant contestants have coaches. Singers, musicians, and actors have coaches.
So do speakers. That is the fastest path to improvement.