No matter where you are on your dance journey, your dance guru will eventually bring up the S word. After the dramatic music fades from the background and you’ve recovered from the shock, you find your name next to your instructors name, dancing Rumba, on a page entitled “MJ vs Madonna Spotlight Party”. How did it get there?

During the blackout period, your instructor gave you very specific reasons as to what a spotlight is and why they want you to do this one. It’s not that you weren’t listening, because we know you treasure every word – but anything that takes you out of your comfort zone tends to cause the mind to redact the vital information about what you are doing.

So what is a spotlight?

Simply put, a spotlight is a studio recital. They are similar to the small performances grade school musicians play throughout the year. Just as an orchestral concert serves as both a checkpoint in a cellist’s learning and a celebration of her accomplishment of learning a new and challenging piece of music, spotlights serve as a milestone in your dance education.

Your instructor and you will select a dance that you have recently been working on and practice it to a specific song. As we know, dancing in front of your peers can be intimidating. Spotlight parties are often themed to add a fun twist to the evening. But why do you have to do it?

Think back to the cellist. She may have played her concerto a hundred times at a whim, but if she could never do it when she was required to, there would be no proof of her mastery. Much in the same way, your Rumba box will never be truly committed to muscle memory until you can do it under pressure.

But what if I make a mistake? That’s okay! In fact, we expect you to. No dance will ever go perfectly just when you want it to. But spotlights allow your teacher to recognize what areas need to be touched up again so that when you are on that boat cruise, at a wedding, or on the streets of Paris and want to spontaneously dance, you’ll know you have the confidence to dance anywhere.