Dance is an art form that disappears as soon as it's performed and the steps we perform are often forgotten as soon as the next one begins. This is one of the beautiful qualities of dance, keeping us present with no past to reference or compare.
In the moment of performance, this is wonderfully liberating. But what happens when you want to measure your progress? How can you fully understand the change in your dancing from the inside alone? Some changes need to be seen to be believed, or else we trick ourselves into thinking that we haven't progressed as much as we have.
Below are two videos of me dancing- roughly a year apart. And while there are qualities of the Novice dancer in the first video that I could recapture (rippling isolations, more relaxed arms, clean triple steps, strong sense of slot), there are many qualities in the Advanced dancer in the second video that I am happy to see have changed (more connection from a lower center of gravity, consistent connection and a sense of extension, wider vocabulary, use of four corners).
I wouldn't have this appreciation for the path I've taken if I didn't have these documents. And while these videos are not my dancing, they help me in my practice so when I'm on the floor, I can stay present assured of where I'm going.
Exercise: Find old footage of you dancing, if you have any. Film yourself now trying to perform the same actions and see what differences there are. If you don't have footage, pick something you want to improve and film it! Continue practicing and see what happens when you film again at different intervals (maybe a week, maybe a month, maybe a year).