As our So Dancer, Daniel Ayala, enters into the professional world of dancer, we sat down and asked him about his top 3 tips for dancers.
Daniel has been dancing ballet for 5 years. He was invited to be a So Dancer in 2019 after receiving the Star Award at Universal Ballet Competition for "Best in Class". A few of his other extraordinary accomplishments include being a selected Finalist at the Helsinki International Ballet Competition in Finland, winning the Silver Medal at World Ballet Competition Finals in 2022, being selected among hundreds of dancers in the Junior age division to compete in the second round at Youth America Grand Prix Finals, and most recently being awarded the "Outstanding Classical Dancer" at Dance Open America Grand Prix Finals in Miami. Best of all, he is currently finalizing details to join a ballet company this upcoming season. It has been such a joy to watch and support Daniel through the past few years and we cannot wait to follow his successful career!
Tip #1: Listen to your teachers, coaches, and parents.
...Even when you don’t feel like it. More often than not, especially when we are young, we think that we know it all and forget that these people that are helping us have already experienced what we are going through. I started noticing major improvement in my dancing when I lowered my guard and really listened and applied whatever my circle of adults were trying to help me understand.
Tip #2: Never take any moments for granted.
Nowadays, competitions have become a part of so many dancers' worlds. We go to these places to win top prizes and recognition, cash awards, and scholarships, but sometimes we forget something that it is very important to network, make new friendships, and enjoy the process! You never know, maybe the person standing next to you will be a co-worker, your master teacher, or your director in whatever company you join in the future. So never take these moments for granted! One memorable competition for me was Helsinki International Ballet Competition in Finland! Dancing at the Finnish Opera house was a dream come true, but meeting people from all over the world and being inspired by my new friends from around the world was a highlight from my trip!
Tip #3: When something isn’t working in your dancing, go back to the basics.
You will be surprised by how many times steps feel like they don’t work, just by missing the simple things - like Plié, coordinating your arms, or turning out. You might feel like they’re not important, but they truly have a HUGE impact in the way we dance! Every time I find myself struggling with a step, it's helpful to revisit the basics of the step and executing them correctly, then those "more challenging" steps end up working out. Then, I know what to do next time so I don’t make the same mistakes again!
Bonus Tip: Wear Só Dança!
I don’t know what I would do without my SD-122 Bellamy ballet shoes. They've literally traveled the world with me!
Shop SD122 here