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On competition, fear and getting your joy back

First of all, thanks to those of you who completed my little survey the other week… you were all really honest, which I value so much. Thank you. x

Some themes came up again and again in people’s responses and today I just want to share them with you, so you know you’re not alone (I know I’ve experienced them myself!) and also to let you know what I’ve been planning in light of all this…

  1. Competition

One of the biggest themes people talked about in the survey was competition… Whether they meant actual dance competitions with medals & prizes, competing for roles in performance casting or the more subtle competition between students for teacher’s praise during class, many dancers find themselves easily fazed by competition.

As much as they want to dance for the pure joy of it, they find themselves getting sucked into competitiveness and end up feeling bad about themselves in comparison to others.

Do you struggle with that too?

There’s nothing like competition to make you doubt yourself and wonder if you’re good enough. And the hardest thing about competition is that it has an uncanny way of bringing out the worst in you rather than the best.

This leaves us with the big question: How can I stay focused on my own journey and not be fazed by competition?

  1. Fear

This was the 2nd biggest theme that came up – fear.

…Maybe you’re injured and afraid you won’t cope with dancing at full capacity again.

…Maybe you’re moving to another country and don’t know if you can handle the changes and challenges.

…Maybe you’re auditioning for companies and just aren’t sure you’ll cope with the pressure.

In all sorts of different circumstances, many dancers share a common fear that they don’t have what it takes.

This leaves us with the big question: How can I learn to trust myself – to believe in myself?

  1. Pure Enjoyment

Another theme that came across very strongly was a longing in a lot of dancers to dance once again for pure enjoyment, for the love of dancing, for the sheer thrill of performing.

Although most people start off with a genuine passion for dancing, this can so easily get suffocated by things like competition, fear, self-doubt, perfectionism. Somewhere along the way, the joy gets lost and dancing becomes too intense, too draining, too frustrating. Yet, a deep desire remains to get back to that pure place of dancing with freedom and joy.

This leaves us with the big question: How can I get back to really enjoying my dancing?

Do these themes resonate with your experience?

They do with mine.

I remember standing in studios and on stages and in front of cast lists impatient for the day that I would get the rewards that everyone else seemed to be getting for their hard work and I didn’t seem to.

I remember train trips home after unsuccessful auditions for companies around Europe where I felt down, depressed and doubting if I’d ever get a job.

But I also remember the first time I learnt that I could find a way of believing in myself and being confident in myself even without being perfect or winning every competition.

It was a performance psychology principle. And it was revolutionary for me. It changed the way I saw myself and the way I danced (and the way I still see myself today).

I’d like to share this principle (and some others I’ve since learnt) with you.

What’s coming next

So, after reading through your responses, I have decided to go ahead and start getting the word out around the dance-world that it is possible to believe in yourself and be grounded in who you are as a dancer.

It is possible not to be fazed by competition, or afraid of not being able to cope. It is possible to enjoy your dancing again.

Do you want to know how?

Then join me.

I’m trying something new. Something technological (gulp!). I’m going to run an online Masterclass series for 5 weeks: Believe In Yourself, starting on Feb 21st.

  • I will be teaching online via live-streaming-video.
  • There will be a chatroll for you to interact with me and each other and to ask questions.
  • There’ll even be a replay available for 3 days after each class for those of you who’ll be dancing or sleeping in your part of the world when the live classes are on, so you can watch when it works for you.

I will do my very best to equip you with insights and practical strategies so you can actually go away and transform the way you see yourself so that you really do believe in yourself.

I’m so excited (OK, and a little nervous!) about this. I’d seriously LOVE you to be a part of it. So, go and find out more about it and to register here!

🙂 Philippa


photo credit: 9 (license)

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