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What a Dancer Can Teach You About Climbing | with Craig Bermen

What a Dancer Can Teach You About Climbing | with Craig Bermen

Posted by Holly Yu Tung Chen with Craig Berman on 26th Apr 2024

Berman's recent fan-favorite book Climbology: An Innovative Approach to Mastering Movement hit the shelves in late 2023 and the hubbub of discussion has yet to die. 

In a fascinating conversation with seasoned athlete and author Craig Bermen, we delve into the striking parallels between two seemingly unconnected sports. The striking similarities between dance and climbing. Both are complementary expressions of human athletic potential. As the dialogue unfolded, Bermen, drawing from his extensive experience in both disciplines, sheds light on the shared strategies, challenges, and joys inherent in these seemingly disparate activities. Join us as we explore the intersection of movement, rhythm, and expression in the worlds of dance and climbing. 

Mastery of Movement

Bermen emphasizes the importance of rhythm and muscle memory in both dance and climbing. Just as dancers must learn intricate routines until they become second nature, climbers must master the movements required to navigate challenging routes or boulder problems. He eloquently describes the process of learning a new movement in climbing, likening it to the experience of mastering choreography in dance. Through deliberate practice and repetition, athletes hone their technique and achieve consistency in their performance. 

Designing Movement Sequences

Drawing parallels between route setters and choreographers, Bermen highlights the role of these individuals in designing movement sequences that challenge and inspire athletes. Whether crafting a dynamic boulder problem or choreographing a captivating dance routine, these creators shape the experiences of those who engage with their work. Bermen's insights underscore the artistry and creativity inherent in both disciplines, as well as the collaborative nature of athletic expression.

Navigating Performance Anxiety 

The conversation delves into the concept of stage fright, or performance anxiety, which manifests differently in dance and climbing. Bermen shares insights gleaned from his experience as a performer, emphasizing the importance of trust in one's training and a genuine love for the activity. He stresses the need to set appropriate goals and celebrate incremental progress, reminding athletes not to lose sight of the joy inherent in the pursuit of their passion.

Expanding Movement Vocabulary 

Bermen explores the concept of expanding one's movement vocabulary, a crucial aspect of both dance and climbing. He likens the process to that of a painter layering colors on a canvas, emphasizing the value of exposure to diverse movement styles and techniques. While cautioning against overemphasizing weaknesses, Bermen advocates for a balanced approach that fosters growth while preserving enthusiasm. By continually seeking new challenges and experiences, athletes enhance their repertoire and deepen their connection to their chosen discipline.

Transformative Power of Perseverance 

Throughout the conversation, Bermen offers valuable insights into the transformative power of perseverance and deliberate practice. He underscores the importance of adapting previous experiences to new challenges and celebrating each step in the learning process. Drawing from his own journey as an athlete and performer, Bermen highlights the inherent value of resilience and the joy of discovery that accompanies the pursuit of mastery.

Bermen's unique combination of athletic prowess provides a rich tapestry of insights that is unmatched by any rock climbing performance guide author. Through his reflections, we gain a deeper appreciation for the shared strategies, challenges, and joys that unite these diverse yet interconnected disciplines. As athletes continue to explore the intersection of movement and expression, they will undoubtedly find inspiration in the wisdom shared by those who have walked the path before them.