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Home > Dance Performance

A Guide to the Emotional Dancer

Dancing can be quite emotional. Not just when enraptured in movement, but by one’s own dance surroundings and peers. Keeping things under control on an emotional front helps a dancer to concentrate on the task at hand; taking class, auditioning or performing. There are so many distractions but it is crucial that a dancer keep their cool in order to do their best.

To be a dancer it takes a confidence that shines through, even in the storms of adversity. A dancer needs to be able to keep calm even in the most turbulent times. Believing in oneself is the key; never give in to the negative. Those who chose to not give in to their own worst critic may find enough strength to pull through in the toughest of times.

It’s as if one should remain in their own “bubble”, we call this bubble serenity and focus. It actually helps to stay in this state of mind so the energy isn't drawn out but rather, it is pulled in and used for dancing. Negative energy can really mean the difference between a good class, audition, performance, and a bad one. Some common negative thoughts a dancer must fight against are:

    1.Mean girls… “Why aren’t I in their clique”? Everyone has been in the position where they feel left out. Dance class is not the exception. Sometimes a clique forms and popularity battles find their way into the classroom. On occasion the “popular crowd” can be quite abrasive causing other dancers to feel resentful, anxious or angry. This won’t help a dancer focus on the task at hand if their energy is drawn out because of misperceptions or even true perceptions of their peers. The key is to rob this situation of ones energy entirely. Always behave and be kind – do not give in to negative notions. Chances are that those perceived mean girls are just a bit more talkative and/or confident and they don’t mean any harm.

    On the flip side, there will always be inconsiderate people, and perhaps they are indeed “mean”. Just feel sorry for them and pay no mind. Focus on dancing and improvement despite any obstacle in our path. If one finds themselves actually getting “picked on” then notify the teacher and ones parents if it gets bad. This type of situation should be dealt with swiftly. Jealousy always surrounds dancers, especially the good ones!

    2.It’s not fair… “I should’ve gotten that part”! Or “The teacher likes her better”… In the dance world, things aren’t always fair. Sometimes a dancer gets overlooked at an audition while a dancer with less ability (seemingly) gets the part. Sometimes a dancer feels slighted in class when the same student gets called upon time and time again to demonstrate. These things are natural, and they should be used as a tool to work harder. It should not cause a dancer’s self esteem to vanquish, but it should humble a dancer and give them the drive to do better.

    It is true that the dance world can be unfair sometimes. The key is to not focus so hard on those incidents, and instead to rise above them. Sometimes a girl will get a part simply because she is the daughter of the choreographer; or maybe a dancer gets called upon constantly not for ability, but because she pays for more classes... These things just happen. We can’t stop the world from being unfair, but we can stop ourselves from being unfair! Most of all we can stop being unfair to ourselves and just brush it off and move forward. That is what any smart dancer would do.

    3.I’m not good enough… ”I’m not tall enough, arched enough, thin enough, pretty enough”… Continuously playing negative thoughts in one’s head is entirely self-defeating. And guess what? If a dancer believes this about themselves then they become it! Faith and belief go a long way in the dance world. Giving up and giving in to self-defeating thoughts will only run a dancer into the ground. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder! This plays a big part in the ballet world; dancers who are built a little thicker or perhaps don’t have the right “look” may feel at odds. This isn’t a good reason to dwindle on effort. This is exactly the right reason to persist and stay dedicated! Don’t let negative thoughts cause defeat!

    If a dancer does not get a part or is not let into a school for physical reasons then that is not the right school or part for the particular dancer! Who wants to be a part of such an institution that judges on anything other than the ability of the dancer? Institutions like that tend to be too stressful for any human being and shouldn’t be sought out anyhow. It isn’t worth the hard work, soul and life of a dancer. A dancer should be encouraged, enriched and cared for in any school or job they pursue.

Every dancer goes through a period of adjustment on the inside when they find themselves in a new dance environment. The key is to not give in to negative thoughts and to always behave in a just and kind manner. Every dancer needs to focus on the task at hand and remain serene and hard working. Any outside distractions do not deserve one’s attention! Keep on track by working hard, being kind, and focusing one’s energy on positive perceptions. This type of positive thinking shines from within and beams out in one’s dancing. Be kind to other’s no matter what and most of all: be kind to yourself!! It goes a long way.

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