It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that in order to be the best dancer you can be, you can only think about dance, ever, and make dance your whole world. While on the one hand, this is largely true: dancers, I know that once of your superpowers is extreme focus and dedication. But sometimes, it’s that small part of yourself that you don’t give to dancing, and to the dance world, that can be the biggest superpower of all..
We’re all dancers, sure. But we’re all other things too. And when we remember what some of these other things are, we can actually improve our mindset, both in the present and the future, and, surprise, improve our dancing itself. Think of a dancer performing the role of Giselle: you need to have deep resources of emotion to draw on in order to be a convincing Giselle, and that emotion has to come from somewhere. So this is where you need to draw on all the things you are outside the rehearsal room. You need to be able to imagine and suppon up that kind of love, that kind of longing, that kind of dream. And where do you get this?
All your other selves.
We all have something we care about in addition to dancing: this might be travel, animals, the environment, DJing, our families, or our friend from grade one.
Bearing these other parts of ourselves in mind offers such a powerful mindset shift because these other selves are selves you can hold onto for life, no matter how long it takes to get where you want to go or how long your ballet journey lasts. These other parts of you are a constant in a world of uncertainty: something you can control when it feels like you can’t control much in this career.
In the wings, we all want to be Eminem feeling like you’ve only got one shot, but we also want to remember that we’ve got a puppy at home who will love us no matter how the next five minutes goes. The world – even if sometimes it’s doesn’t feel like it – is bigger than your studio, your change-room, your stage. If you have a part of you that you are certain of, that exists outside of your ballet identity, that can’t fail no matter what happens in the foutte sequence in front of you, you’ll be helping yourself stay grounded and helping yourself get in the air. You’ll be more resilient, more objective in response to criticism and you’ll have a deep understanding that no matter what, you are ok.
Actually – more than ok.