Happy end of December! Pat yourself on the back for surviving Nutcracker and holiday performances. I don’t know about you, but 2017 has been one crazy, roller coaster year.
The end of December brings that time of year where you sing that song about remembering or forgetting people and start thinking about your New Year’s Resolution. What bad habit do you want to get rid of? What good habits would you like to make a part of your daily or weekly routine? This usually depends on what type of resolution person you are.
Do you actively seek out/work on your goal or do you loose steam by March? Or even worse, do you not even bother to make one at all?
There are so many different types of goals you can have as a dancer: get your first paid company position, switch companies, get into college or a pre-professional program, fix an aspect of your technique, eat healthier.
Last year my resolution was to find a change. I didn’t exactly know what that entailed, but I knew I wasn’t happy with where I was dancing. I hated the rep I was dancing, I was not being pushed to improve my technique or my artistry, and I was often under rehearsed to the point where I had outside teachers clean my variations.
I knew I needed a change, a positive environment that was going to help me grow as a dancer.
I think everyone should strive to thrive in a positive environment for their New Year’s Resolution. It’s a goal that can either be small and very easy to reach or a bigger more long-term goal. Here are some tips to finding a more positive place.
Know what you’re not willing to put up with
Many people have a list of deal-breakers they are not willing to put up with when they are dating. It should be the same for where you dance or work. Know what working conditions drive you crazy or even hurt your well-being.
List positive elements of past experiences
Don’t fix what’s not broken. If something works for you keep doing it! Make a list of things/conditions that make you happy. If you move, find those positive elements on your list in another environment.
When looking at a new school or company ask the current dancers about the overall environment
This is why I prefer to audition during company class. You get a feel of what every day in the studio is going to be like with that company. You can talk with dancers and honestly ask them what they like or don’t like about dancing in that company.
Granted, few will admit all of the negatives, but you will get at least one honest response. If I know someone at the company I’m interested in auditioning for, I send them a Facebook message to ask what their experience has been thus far.
Talk with the people that have a negative influence on your well-being
Find a way to talk to the friend, teacher, parent, or relative that has a negative impact on your health. Ask your family to serve more healthy options at meals if you feel that you are not fueling your body correctly.
Talk to friends about how body shaming impacts everyone negatively. Don’t attack your supports. Simply express why this bothers you and offer options for a positive change.
Clean out your social media
Social media can sometimes become a vacuum of “thinspirations”, bashing, and overall negative attitude. Clean out your social media of the negative people in your feed. You don’t need to see that person who constantly complains about their body or their current work situation. Unfollow the people that encourage unhealthy behaviors.
Start every day on the right note
Everyone has different ways to start their days. One way I start the day the positive way is my daily inspirational quote. For my birthday on year a friend gave me 365 inspirational quotes. I saved my favorites and have them pinned around my room, which I can see as I get ready in the morning.
There are apps/email services that can send you a quote each day. Insightoftheday.com is great for offering daily motivational, inspirational, and life quotes via email.
When I was dancing at BalletFleming, a few of us would create custom positive quotes for each of the dancers each week. We had fun with it and made themes for each week including: song lyrics, movie quotes, Chinese proverbs, even Disney character quotes. It’s a fun exercise that bonded the company together and gave inspiration for tough rehearsal days.
Understand that life is a journey and there is no right answer
On New Years Day 2017 I read “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho. It’s a story of a boy that travels the world finding his purpose. He stopped many different places and learned something different in each place.
I took this parable to heart. It made me realize that there’s nothing wrong with continuously searching for what works for you and what makes you you as a dancer and a person. That could mean changing teachers, school, or company. There is no set correct answer of how to reach your goal, it’s different for everyone.
**If you’ve been dragged down in past years because you’ve struggled to reach your body goals, join The Dancer’s Best Body Program in early 2018 – Add your name to the VIP wait list for Bonuses, Savings and Early Enrollment deals**