Tag Archives: ballet dancer

5 Ways Dancers Can Build Their Confidence

Like a scary shadow, self-doubt has haunted dancers of all ages and abilities. Ballet dancers, in particular, tend to grapple with feelings of inadequacy. But take heart. Whether you’re a seasoned professional, or absolute novice, there are things you can do to increase your self-esteem and enjoy dancing again. Consider five ways dancers can combat self-doubt and build their confidence.

  1. Give yourself more credit.

Think about it—you could be sitting on the couch, or engaging in some other activity that adds nothing to your life. At least you’re doing something healthy and productive for yourself! Every dancer has ups and downs, but when you’re at a low point, remember that you could be somewhere else. And if you can’t seem to bring yourself to do this, allow me to do it for you: kudos to you!

Sensual beautiful girl near the window morning

  1. Set realistic goals.

Having trouble nailing those fouéttés? Maybe it’s because you can barely do a pirouette without falling off balance. Professional dancers are notorious workhorses, but even beginners can set the bar too high for themselves. Setting small, realistic goals for yourself will help you feel less overwhelmed. For instance, if you have trouble executing a double pirouette, why not learn to master a clean, single pirouette first? Even taking the time to do a proper warm-up can help you feel prepared for the demands of class.

  1. Focus on something positive about yourself.

We all have gifts. Maybe you have naturally stellar turnout, or picture-perfect arches. Instead of nit-picking all your perceived negative traits, focus on your positive attributes. Perhaps your strong points have nothing to do with your physical appearance. Can you get through allegro combinations without gasping for breath? Do you remember combinations with ease while your classmates struggle to retain instructions? The next time you’re feeling down, think about the one (or multiple) things about yourself that you love, or set you apart.

The hands of two classic ballet dancers at ballet barre on a white room background

  1. Don’t compare yourself to others.

The reality is, there will always be someone who can jump higher or turn faster. Depending on how far you go in your career, you will meet these individuals somewhere along the way. Instead of competing with others and fostering jealousy, focus solely on your own progress and develop good sportsmanship. Doing your part to promote healthy dynamics with your classmates will contribute to a positive learning environment that benefits everyone.

  1. Remember your reasons for dancing.

Do you dance for recreation? Fitness? Some dance because it’s their life’s calling. Remembering why you dance can increase your motivation and reignite your joy. Everyone feels a little insecure sometimes, but keeping in mind the factors that drew you to dance in the first place will help to mitigate the effects of self-doubt.

Don’t let self-doubt cast its dark shadow over your life. It can be easy to fall into a rut, focus on the negative, even question your right to be in the studio at all. Through consistent effort, and a good sense of humor, you can successfully shake that self-conscious monkey off your back.

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About the Author

Bethany Leger taught ballet for 7 years in Dallas, TX. She is the founder of Ballet For Adults, a site dedicated to educating adults about ballet at http://balletforadults.com/

Holiday Ballet Bloopers

Ballet dancers are supposed to be perfect all the time, but the problem is we’re human…slip-ups happen from time to time. No one wants to admit they slid across stage, fell on their butt or smacked a fellow dancer in the face. So embarrassing! But every dancer has at least one of these stories to share (read about mine HERE). I hope you enjoy this collection of holiday ballet bloopers.

Nutcracker epic fail:

Epic fails complete with sound effects:

And finally…vintage bloopers!

What these clips show us is that even if the worst case happens and you fall on your butt, you get up and keep going. Wasn’t it amazing to see how quickly each of these dancers recovered? So inspiring! It gives new meaning to the phrase “keep calm and carry on.”

 

RELATED POSTS:

How to Move Past Failure

How to Make a Ballerina

A Dancer’s Guide to Gratitude

Today is a day where people across the country take time to express gratitude for the blessings in their lives; yet ballet dancers have a very different list than most. Maybe you’re grateful for that perfectly-broken-in pair of pointe shoes or the uplifting comment you received in class the other day…there’s always something to be grateful for.

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So have a little pie (really, just a tiny sliver) and read on.

The Ballet Dancer’s Guide to Gratitude

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Barre exercises, the solid foundation upon which everything else is built, one step at a time…and brisés and ballonnés, and all of those shining moments where we get to defy gravity and fly.

Adoring ballet fans everywhere…because without them everything we do would lose context and meaning.

Lyrical music that speaks to your soul, sinks into your bones and urges you to move your body in pleasing ways.

Lifelong gifts of ballet: respect for the body and innate understanding of the benefits of discipline and dedication. And there’s the added benefit of stellar posture.

Every musician, composer and conductor who adds their own special ingredient to the melodious mix of sounds that prompts us to dance.

Teachers and all people who have cared enough to nurture, guide and shape who you are today.

 

Dancers who came before us, who led by example, who inspired us to dare to dream of following in their footsteps.

All theaters– whether humble or swimmingly opulent–the places where magic happens for everyone who enters.

New ideas and the people who take the time to contemplate and take action. Without them we would never have had pancake tutus, pointe shoes, or ballet academies.

Choreographic geniuses, those masters who continually reinvent the dance landscape, guiding dancers to take quantum leaps into unexplored territory and keeping audiences inspired.

Experts who make our bodies strong and put us back together when we tear ourselves apart, from podiatrists and surgeons, to massage therapists, Pilates instructors and yoga teachers.

Reverence for dance as an art form, one of the highest human pursuits, and deepest gratitude for those who recognize and support the arts to make it all possible.

Happy Thanksgiving! May your day be bright and joyful.

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What Ballet Life is Really Like

Whenever I meet someone for the first time, one of their first questions is, “What was it like to be a professional ballet dancer?” Ballet is in the public eye like never before, yet movies like Black Swan and shows like Breaking Pointe tend to focus on the gritty side of dance, and are at times extreme. It’s difficult to explain what something is like to someone who’s never personally experienced it, but I can sum it up with one line:

Ballet is a hard life.

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No other job on the planet requires so much time and energy with so little pay…and it’s one of the most competitive fields in existence. Out of the 2000 dancers who audition each year for the School of American Ballet’s Summer Intensive, only a handful are chosen to become permanent students. Out of the 200 permanent students only 20 are hired for professional ballet companies around the world. These figures give a whole new meaning to the term “the one percent.”

Although ballet is a difficult life it’s not without its perks. Fellow dancers feel like family (maybe slightly dysfunctional, but show me one that isn’t), there’s often the opportunity to travel (and someone else pays), and the experience of working towards perfecting your art is satisfying on an entirely different level than most jobs.

Lastly, choosing a life in dance pays off for the rest of your life in unexpected ways, from living fully in your body and treating it respectfully to understanding and applying the principles of hard work and dedication to everything you do.

So yes, ballet life is hard, but so is everything that’s worth doing.

RELATED POSTS:

How To Make A Ballerina

Debunking Ballet Myths

Ballet Career Highlights