Tips for a Drama-Free Mindset in Ballet (and Life!)

One of the BEST things about dance is that it makes kids mentally tough, and heaven knows that’s a skill that will take them far in life! Learning can come from the successes, but from the disappointments too. (And often those are the most instructive!)

To optimize your learning experience, regardless of the role you land or your acceptance or rejection from any level or program, here are a few handy reminders:

1. There is not one role or level placement that will make a break a dancer’s future. Trust me, not one single professional company will base a job offer on the level you were at in at an unaffiliated school, or what roles you danced when you were 9, 10, 11, 12, or even 17!

2. When it comes to progression, your only competition is YOURSELF! That a dancer in your class was moved up or got a part may have nothing to do with whether or not YOU are a better dancer. If you are, you’ve already “succeeded”; and if you aren’t, there are things you can work on regardless of your placement or casting.

3. Advancement and roles CAN be an indication of where you may need to improve. As you re-assess your goals and achievements, it IS helpful to ask yourself what it is you WANT and if your current training will help you achieve that goal. You may need to do more ballet homework, add classes to your schedule, or find training that will help you progress in the ways that will be satisfying to YOU.

4. ALWAYS remember: you win some, you lose some. I saw this again and again – I’d not get into programs dancers younger and less experienced than I did, or I’d be cast in an amazing role by guest faculty, and be looked over by main directors, or land a scholarship one year and not the next when I knew I had improved! I suspect that is true for EVERY SINGLE PRIMA BALLERINA AROUND THE WORLD.

At least, I hope it is! Because if you never faced failure and disappointment, dance would not build you into an amazingly strong, beautiful, compassionate person… and THAT “becoming” is the BEST “prize” dance training can offer!