The study of dance is exciting, challenging, and rewarding. It can also be frustrating and disappointing. As a profession, a lot depends upon qualities over which you have no control. Of course, we can work and improve but proportions or our overall shape are out of our hands. Luckily dance is about what we have, not what we lack. Don’t miss the big picture when you look in the mirror. Believing in yourself is crucial to benefiting and enjoying your time in the studio.
Take a good honest look in the mirror and assess what you see. Acknowledge your shortcomings and your strengths. Accept what you cannot change and move forward working on the things you can. You won’t get anywhere constantly bemoaning the fact that you have a short neck. Strengthen the rest of your technique and artistry and no one will even notice.
Don’t focus too much on the outward appearance. Dance may be a visual artform but there is so much more depth to be found in your work. Dance is about communication, storytelling, movement, musicality. Things like line, while important, are only tools we use as a medium of expression. Work to develop something original and interesting within yourself.
Discover the big picture
Ultimately each dancer is responsible for the development of their own technique. Spend some time in the mirror discovering how to shape the body you have to look the way you want, investigate and discover. History is full of amazing dancers that had spectacular careers in spite of any physical limitations they had.
Don’t put your shortcomings under a microscope
Everyone has that one elusive element that they think will transform their dancing, beautiful feet, turn out, nicer line. It doesn’t work like that. Dance is a balance of many things. It is always a push and pull between what we desire and what we have. Don’t place so much pressure on one element. Instead focus on becoming a well-rounded artist.
Respect your dream
If you want to be a professional you must think you have what it takes. Don’t hide your light under a bushel. Practice confidence with humility. Own the fact that you want to be great.
It takes a lot of courage to be an artist. It means risking failure. Failure is how we learn. I had a teacher that used to say you learn more from a bad pirouette than you do a perfect one. Learn from your mistakes and bravely try again. Don’t let the fear of falling hold you back. Be brave and give your all. That is something you can be proud of no matter what happens.
Don’t compare yourself to others
There will always be dancers further along in their development and those less so. Focus on your own journey. Take stock in what you have developed, feel good about where you are, and continue to progress and learn. The journey never ends.
We all know we should be kind to one another but we often forget to extend that same kindness to ourselves. Remember, the goal is not perfection, but rather humanity, in all its glorious imperfections. Our goal is to find a connection that supports the importance of the work be that class or rehearsal. It is an elusive quest to communicate that for which there are no words. To do that you must begin to understand yourself. To love yourself, the good, the bad, and the ugly.