My first ballet teacher always said, “If you are satisfied with your dancing, then you’re in the wrong field” which meant that as far as she was concerned there was always room for improvement. Perfection, or the closest thing to it, is a dancer’s job description. Over time we improve through intention and practice. But many of us still wrestle with the question of whether or not we are good dancers.
It’s common to feel pressure to get ahead, to be more, to do more. I certainly felt this way when I was dancing in professional ballet companies. Every career holds hundreds of performances with each one (hopefully) being the best that it can be.There were times when I asked myself am I any good at all? It can be difficult to pinpoint exactly where you stand in the dance world, because feedback is often minimal, if it exists at all.
It was only after a well-known musician/composer friend introduced the idea of “good enough” that I found any resolution. “Generally, I don’t read reviews of my work,” she said. “They are simply one person’s opinion. I know with every project that I have given my personal best and that is all that I can do. I find peace knowing that.”
The same thing applies to dance. There will always be some dancers who are better… and some that are not as good. There is a wide spectrum of talent and every dancer’s career is a personal journey with a distinct starting point and an ending point. How we get from point A to point B can vary, but somewhere within all the hard work we need to enjoy the ride. If you know you’ve done your best, then let go and relax. Just a little.
Further recommended reading:
School of American Ballet’s master teacher Suki Schorer’s book offers advice and affirmations to young dancers.