Their approval should not be the goal
Recently I came across a post by a dancer who talked about all the “father figures” she came across in dance and her desire to please them and gain their love and approval. I can relate to that. I lost my father at a young age, I had closer relationships with men in ballet than anywhere else.
Dance is a people pleasing art. You’re concerned with looking good and living up to the standards expected by your teachers. That goal becomes ingrained early, it’s challenging to shake.
As a child as young as 7 or 8 the aim in class is often to perform and show our teacher’s we’re listening…obedient.
The discipline of dance isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, the authoritative stance and mean, critical approach some teacher’s take really breaks down your sense of self. It makes it hard for you to find authentic joy and confidence in dance.
When body comments and criticisms start at a similarly young and vulnerable age, you’re set up for what can be a lifetime struggle to accept your body and abilities.
In all of this, it’s easy to get pulled away from what should be your focus – improving your technique and artistry AND enjoying your dance pursuits.
It all becomes about earning a teacher’s love and approval. Which in reality, you don’t need to succeed. Being the teacher’s pet alone does not guarantee a job after your training.
The most loved student doesn’t necessarily go the furthest, BUT if you let the lack of love and admiration from your teacher impact your confidence it can be a big factor.
In order to stay positive in your pursuit, you can’t make it about pleasing every teacher or Artistic Director you come across. It can’t be about gaining their love.
To find success in dance you need to love yourself. With the ups and downs and challenges you might face, you’ve got to be your biggest supporter.
Usually, the love of your teacher or Artistic Director is conditional. It might be given or taken away based on your weight. Or it could be dependent on your placing at a competition or receiving a scholarship. If you’re coming back from injury they might be less supportive.
The only unconditional love you can count on is from yourself (if you work to get there). And one of the big benefits of working towards unconditional self-love is that it’s going to support you in dance and beyond.
When you release self-judgement but instead support yourself towards your goals, you’ll dance better, freer and with more joy.
The joy can radiate off of you and that’s what will get you hired! Check out this recent chat I had with dance photographer Rachel Neville. We discussed the importance of finding inner peace and confidence and how your body language speaks volumes:
Photo on Visualhunt.com