This article originally appeared in the Spring 2024 Life Without Limits issue of Showstopper Magazine.

You are on a journey that has more in store for you than you could ever imagine. The possibilities are endless, but only you can determine how far you will and can go. Creating and accomplishing an item on your bucket list is extremely fulfilling but often comes alongside you pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone and what you think you are capable of. Let’s get started!

Prepare your bucket list by writing things down that you can accomplish this year, and don’t be afraid to let go of the status quo! This list is a great way to get all your ideas on paper and to spark inspiration. Building your [no] limits list means that you are searching to experience all that you were created to be and honoring the desires of your heart. A rich and fulfilling life is never about the material things we have, but what we experience! Experience ignites passion! And what you experience might point you in a new direction, to a new dream, or to a new opportunity that you have never dreamed of!

Bucket lists are made to become a reality! Of course, life will bring everyone challenges. But focus on what you can control, and work toward that. Confront your obstacles in faith, not fear! Dare to think outside of the box and try new things. By building your [no] limits list, you will be reminded that you can work through any difficulty, stretch beyond your perceived limits, and achieve more than you ever thought was possible (not to mention having a whole lot of FUN in the process)! Let’s do this!


Figure out your passions.


Challenge your perceived limits.


Don’t be afraid to dream big.


Get visual! Make a mood board.


Think outside the box.


Aim to make a positive impact.

Choreograph a solo and then perform it for your whole class! Most professional dancers are also choreographers, so don’t wait to develop that talent. You can start choreographing at any age!

Your body gets used to moving in the same style of dance to the same music over and over again. It might feel uncomfortable at first, but develop a whole new playlist of all genres of music and then dare to have a jam sesh and improv with a group of friends. You just might surprise yourself!

Start from scratch by casting the video with a few dance friends. Choreograph it, costume it, record it, and then edit it! You will learn so much about all aspects of the creative process, and as you watch it back, you will notice things about dance that will help you fine-tune your skills the next time you are on stage. Bonus: you’ll have the video and the experience that will last a lifetime.

Write down three fears you have in a dance class or on stage…and then face them! What is holding you back? Facing your fears and overcoming them will put the fears in their rightful place…which is away! Fear lives in our head until we confront that fear with truth. Fear is irrational, and when you overcome that fear by facing it, you can put that fear away for good and move on in a direction that feels more free.

Don’t underestimate the happiness that dancing in the rain brings. It will remind you of the reason you dance in the first place…for pure joy. Grab a friend and dance your heart out.

Technology is an amazing resource, but too much of it can be a time waster and a dream robber. So dare to put it away for a full 24 hours! Creativity comes alive out of boredom. During this time, write down all of the creative ideas, thoughts, and dreams that go through your heart and head…Maybe starting your own bucket list will come from doing this very thing!

Giving, serving, and using your talent for good always seems to decrease stress while putting life in perspective. It also increases all of those ‘feel goo’ parts of our brain that produce chemicals of happiness, calmness, and connection. Go find ways to use your talent for good, whether it is dancing for a nursing home, hospital patients, or a loved one that needs a smile.

Trying out a new dance class when you don’t feel comfortable in that style is hard. But why judge yourself? Break out of that self-imposed limit you are putting on yourself and take a dance class you never would have before. You’ll be surprised with the things you learn and the freedom it brings when you step outside your comfort zone.

There is no dance experience quite like the Showstopper experience! Whether you are on the Showstopper stage or attending a convention class, it’s surely a bucket list item! This year, meet one of your favorite convention teachers or judges and tell them how much they have influenced you. Ask them their biggest piece of advice for a career in dance. Showstopper faculty are passionate about creating powerful and dynamic experiences for every dancer and will always leave you feeling inspired!

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Hayley Mac is a nationally-recognized choreographer, director, teacher, dancer, designer, and motivational speaker. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Pepperdine University in liberal arts with a focus on theater and a master’s degree in instructional leadership. Hayley was mentored by legends Henry LeTang and Gregory Hines. She starred in musicals such as 42nd Street and danced for national commercials and networks including MTV, CBS, and Fox. She has choreographed for the Emmy-nominated Showstopper American Dance Championships, several Top 10 dancers on SYTYCD, and prestigious companies and universities across the country. @hayleymaccooper