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Staying Body Positive in Dance

When a Friend is Being Negative

We’ve all been there…innocently warming up for class and a friend unleashes hatred; onto herself.

She’s looking in the mirror and starts to pick apart her body and appearance. She says her butt has grown since last season or her thighs are clearly bigger.

Is this fishing for compliments? Looking for validation? Perhaps. It’s totally possible she’s just looking for you to tell her she’s fine. Or that she looks the same or better or at least “good”.

It’s also possible that she’s hoping you’ll chime in with some self-loathing of your own. Maybe she’d feel better if you start talking about what has gotten “bigger” or “less toned” on your own body.

This situation is hard to navigate and it’s hard to know what the best way to respond might be. You can watch this video for some ideas, or if you prefer, read on!

Try sharing with your friend how you deal with your own body image insecurities.

For example, try saying, “instead of focusing on a perceived flaw, I try to think about how my body is serving me”. Share how your negativity makes you feel and how you cope with it. That might help her see how to flip things to a positive.

It might also help to let her know how you feel when surrounded by negativity. Let her know that those negative comments make you feel helpless and you’re unsure how to help her turn it around.

You want your friends to be able to talk to you when they’re going through hard times. You might encourage her to come to you for support rather than venting or getting lost in negativity.

This might be a friend you’ll end up needing some space from.

It’s hard to stay positive when you have a friend who’s constantly focused on what’s going wrong. It’s totally acceptable to take space from people who are making it hard for you to live your best life.

Check out this related post :   College Dancers - Avoid the Dreaded "Freshman 15"

how to be body positive

Maybe you can help your friend to see the positive. Ask her, “what’s something about your body or your dancing that you love?” Remind her that she’s not alone and that there are also plenty of positives to focus on.

Don’t internalize your friends negativity or project it onto yourself. Don’t compare your body to hers. This is a big one! If a friend is complaining about her body and you view her body as “ideal” it’s normal to get lost in comparison.

When those thoughts come up, put the focus on your gifts and encourage her to do the same. Come back to gratitude. Your body allows you to dance! When you take care of your body and mind, you’ll be able to show up more fully and do your best dancing.

Find the light. Find your positivity. Focus on what’s going well.

Remind yourself what’s going well with a gratitude list. Simply write down 3 things you’re grateful for and remember that you have a lot of good stuff going on in your life. Even in trying, uncertain times it’s possible to find something positive to focus on.

The only person whose approval you need is your own.

When you approve of yourself, your confidence will soar!

In Conclusion…

Everyone is on their own journey. Each of us has to learn life lessons on our own. As much as you might be focused on the positive side of life, you can’t force your friend to do the same. If you’re committed to growing and improving as a dancer, maintaining body positivity will be a game changer.

One of the biggest things dancers struggle with is confidence. If you can work towards body positivity and remind yourself about what’s going well, you’ll have the potential to grow your confidence exponentially. Don’t discount the value of seeing your own worth.

Check out this related post :   The Keys to Balance and Wellness in Dance

If you’re struggling to stay body positive, check out this post: How to Create a Positive Relationship with Food and Your Body

How to Stay Body Positive in Dance
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Jess Spinner

Jess is a former professional ballet dancer turned Holistic Health, Nutrition, and Lifestyle Coach for high level dancers. She founded The Whole Dancer in 2015 after identifying a greater need for balance, wellness and support in the dance world. Since The Whole Dancer was founded, Jess has worked with 100's of dancers worldwide at top companies and schools. She has been featured in or written for Dance Magazine, Dance Teacher Magazine, Pointe Magazine, and Dance Spirit Magazine.

3 thoughts on “How to Stay Body Positive in Dance

  • May 24, 2021 at 8:29 am
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    This! First off: I’m, by no means, even going to pretend I was ever a serious-enough Dance student to have stayed with it…but: it REALLY is a depressing wake-up call to (suddenly) understand the pressures within the environment of a class/studio can turn into an outright toxic situation of self-doubt and physical/mental strain (as far-away from the childhood imagination and playdate costume parties one -I- thought made it all seem fun at the BEGINNING).

    Growing up into a pear-shaped body in front of all these mirrors and noticing (seemingly, overnight): white tights are making your hips now look like you’re carrying sacks of flour around your sides(!), I absolutely understand, can be a very dangerous confidence tipping point for ANY young woman if she believes she doesn’t have an outside support structure. Luckily, for me, (beyond: realizing I was too rebellious, lol!, to work-toward having elite level discipline at it) my parents never let me go down that road and knew that, in the case of my liking Dance, it had come from hearing a lot of music always being played around the house as a kid and just loving to move to it (so: it was a feeling already implanted in me nobody was ever going to take away — no matter what I chose to do in life).

    Thank you,
    Cristina S.

    Reply
    • May 24, 2021 at 8:55 pm
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      Facing mirrors with the consistency dancers do is extremely challenging. It would be doing a disservice to all dancers (from pre-professional to recreational and everywhere in between) to pretend as though there aren’t intrinsic challenges.

      By supporting dancers to find a positive view of themselves IT IS possible to hold onto that joy of movement. And I fully relate to the “pear shaped” body thoughts but I’m no longer willing to compare myself to a piece of fruit! I’m a person 😉 and so are you. xo

      Reply
      • May 24, 2021 at 9:50 pm
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        Awww, you’re so sweet! Thank you! Keep up the good work! This reads like an excellent (female-friendly) blog for dealing with middle-age body issues and fitness goals. The kind which is SOOOO hard to find thesedays on the web (EVERYTHING all place else is obsessed with: the sz 1, 22 y.o.’s in ridiculous yoga clothing I’m sure don’t even know what the true meaning of Namasté is).

        Reply

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