So, you want to be a ballerina?
You hear it from countless little girls, twirling in satin and tulle:
I want to be a ballerina when I grow up!
Their eyes fill with wonder and joy and their bodies lilt and sway as they say it. But as little kids get bigger and dancing becomes more serious, the pursuit of this dream can add layers of complexity to the wide-eyed wonder of childhood.
The stakes get higher, the competition gets tougher – all while you are growing up and just starting to work out who it is you really are and what you want for your life!
This can make for some confusing times, when you wrestle with the big question:
5 Reasons My Dancing Day is Ruined! [Lessons to Learn from The Bolshoi Ballet’s Acid Attack]
This week, Bolshoi Ballet soloist, Pavel Dmitrichenko was sentenced to 6 years in prison for plotting the acid attack on Director, Sergei Filin. Although he did not plead guilty, CNN reports that the dancer wanted “Filin to be punished in some way for failing to give him the roles he wanted”.
Apart from being a punishable crime, this is a tragic event in the ballet world.
And I also see this as an extreme example of something that happens quite commonly among dancers: it’s something psychologists refer to as having an “external locus of control” where instead of believing in your own ability to control your life, you blame circumstances, people or things outside yourself.
Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist
For so many years I danced before so many mirrors and really thought that the size of my thighs was the hardest thing to look at.
But all this talk of perfectionism on the blog here is revealing all this stuff in ME that I’d prefer not to look at. Writing about perfectionism is the hardest mirror to look in. Ever.
Here I am trying to help you dancers overcome the darker side of perfectionism, but as I do so, the mirror flips back at me, and I see how I still get trapped, how I still forget to listen to my own advice and trust what I know deep down.
So, as hard to admit as it is, I’m still a perfectionist.
Teachers: Want to shape your students’ motivation?
Here’s one for all you dance teachers out there!
Dance teachers love teaching motivated students.
You know the ones:
They come up to you after class for tips on how to improve this or that step and then practice it at the end of every class for the rest of the week to see their improvement. In performance psychology terms, these students are known as being “task-oriented”. They are motivated by the challenge of learning and mastering new steps and skills… and they are a pleasure to teach.
On the other hand, have you ever had a student who is very talented, but hardly tries?! They only work hard when your eye is on them, or when the director is looking through the window. They pull out their best for competitions, but you know they have the potential to be a much better dancer if they put consistent effort in.
Lessons for Babies and Ballet Dancers
A chance for me to make a blog post in the midst of baby-brain (and an excuse to show off some proud-mama pics of my gorgeous girl Noemi!). Here are some lessons I'm learning, perhaps you can learn from them too?
1) Do not despise small beginnings, remember them and be astounded at how much you can grow
Goals that Actually Get You Somewhere! Part 2
In my last post, I talked about the value of breaking your big, overwhelming goals into bite-sized steps so that you can gradually work towards them and feel a sense of achievement when you reach each milestone along the way.
But what happens when instead of happily making progress toward your goal, you find yourself getting stuck on one step, unable to move forward, doubting yourself, and wanting to quit?