Last week I was working at a dance camp for 4-5 year olds at my studio. Let’s just say that I’m very tired and very sick of Barbie movies.
Anyway, I have this week before summer intensives kick in, so I’m trying to catch up on all of my blog posts, writing. drawing, and other creative projects before my schedule gets away from me again. So, since summer intensives are coming up, I wanted to talk about negative self talk, and particularly how dancers can deal with it.
Summer intensives and camps. A time to make friends. To improve technique. And a time to let thoughts of self-consciousness and jealousy creep in if you’re not careful. Often at summer intensives, you are around a bunch of new people, which can either be encouraging (If you feel like you keep up with everyone), or discouraging (If several of those people are super talented and you feel behind).
It’s really tough. One moment, your heart soars after landing a clean triple pirouette, the next moment, you feel like crying watching that one girl’s feet move a hundred miles an hour in petit allegro. We often compare ourselves to others, and in the process hurt ourselves by thinking things like, “I’ll never be as good as so and so.” “I don’t have the ability or talent to do this.” “Why do I even try?”
To be honest, I struggle with this a lot. Like a lot of dancers, I’m hard on myself, and I hold myself to really high standards. I’m working on not flying through the ceiling when I don’t meet those standards. Here’s 3 ways that I’m working on this issue.
- Remember about that thing called “tomorrow”. Believe it or not, after a certain point, those fouettes aren’t getting any better with repetition. Try again tomorrow.
- Stop. When those negative thoughts creep in, breathe, and use discernment to tell the difference between what is constructive criticism (eg. Your leg could go a little higher in that arabesque.) and complete and utter lies (eg. You can’t ever have an arabesque as high as so and so).
- Find inspiration. You know what I mean. That thing that inspires you. A song. A poem. Someone’s choreography. Whatever it is, go back to it, and read/watch it until you remember who you really are.