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When to be hard on yourself as a performer

So, last week I shared this post on social media that resonated with a lot of people: “Be hard on yourself when you want… Read More

Coping with Criticism Hangout

“You’ll never be a dancer” “You’re not even trying” “Your body’s not right for ballet” Almost all dancers have experienced some form of criticism,… Read More

12 Tips to Survive Nutcracker Season [with Printable Countdown]

It’s that time of year again… Nutcracker season (cue imaginary Overture playing its merry little tune in your head).

It’s the time of year when Ballet companies stocking-stuff their schedules as full as is humanly possible with this wonderfully magical ballet. Nutcracker is an almost universal holiday staple, punctuating the ballet year, strung like fairy lights all across the December calendar.

Right now, right the way around this globe of ours, Spanish, Chinese and Arabian roles are being rehearsed. Studios are wafting with dancing candy canes, waltzing flowers and spinning sugar plums.

[pullquote position=”right”]Like an unofficial rite of passage, Nutcracker season initiates new company members into the heart of life as a dancer.[/pullquote]

 

…Perhaps this is your first year and you are spending the best part of the silly season sitting on the sidelines, learning the places of 5 different snow flakes and your heart might just melt if you could be on stage yourself in this beautiful ballet…

…Perhaps you are a seasoned Nutcracker-er, juggling so many different roles in so many different casts that you can’t even remember if you’re dancing the Rat King or the Snow Queen tonight…

…Or maybe, you have cracked one-too-many a nut and have had all the magic drained out, so that it just feels like you’re going through the motions evening after matinee, day after day, year after year…

So how do you keep on keeping on in the relentless repetition of Nutcracker season?

I’m so glad you asked 😉

Here are 12 tips to help get you through!

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The Pros of Resting (and How to Rest like a Pro)

All around the world, dancers are taking a break right about now… 
In the northern hemisphere you get to enjoy a lovely summer break, 
while down here we get a short winter holiday – but nonetheless a 
time out from the studio! As you get ready to wind down some, 
here are some ideas to switch off, guilt-free and make the most of 
this recovery time toward what lies beyond! 🙂

 

How do you feel coming up to a break from dance?

Ecstatic?   Relieved?   Slightly Uneasy?   Petrified?

Holidays are great! But for many dancers, whether you spend your time off at the coast or in the cafés or on the couch, you are often accompanied by some niggling worries in the back of your mind…

 
I’m getting out of shape…
I shouldn’t be eating this…
I need to DO something!
I can’t sit still…
I can’t relax too much – I have to stay on top of things!

There is this fear that if you really allow yourself to rest, you’ll “let yourself go,” lose your precious form and ruin your progress.

But seasoned artists know how much they need rest and manage to let themselves really relax – and ENJOY it thoroughly – without guilt or fear of losing their form. And you can too…

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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.

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Why Dancers’ Mental Health Is Vitally Important

 

2 articles I’ve read recently have just got my blood pumping.

One highlighted how dance and the types of personalities it attracts (um, perfectionists…) are linked to higher incidences of eating disorders, which are the deadliest of all mental disorders.

And then just a few days ago, was the shocking story of a talented principal dancer from the Eugene Ballet in the US, who unexpectedly committed suicide, leaving a note for his wife on the door of their home.

Such devastating stories show how *vitally* important it is for dancers to take care of their mental and emotional health.

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