Dance has been a major on and off again part of my life since I was 5. Growing up, I tried basketball, I tried soccer, and several other sports, but dance is the only sport I stuck with. I’ve finally gotten back to it, after almost 4 years, and feel a huge void in my life is filled. These are the things I’ve learned about life from being a dancer.
1. Everything in life is about balance.
Mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. When I’m dancing, I feel balanced and at ease. All of my other worries seem to disappear in that moment. And when I’m done dancing, I feel a huge relief from life’s problems. I could be having the worst day, or the worst week, and dancing somehow makes it all better. I am 100% focused on learning and perfecting the choreography. Nothing else in the world matters. Having an escape from reality is vital to your sanity.
2. Perfectionism is key
Some may say this is a bad thing, but I would disagree. Dancers rehearse the same choreography over and over again, because we want it to be perfect. We get yelled at by choreographers for not doing it “full out,” and rightfully so. If you don’t do it full out in rehearsals, you won’t do it full out at the performance. You cannot be lazy in life. You have to give everything your all. Like Ron Swanson says, “Never half-ass two things, whole-ass one thing.”
3. Having thick skin is necessary to survive
If you’ve never had a dance instructor or choreographer yell at you, you are learning from the wrong person. I’ve had ballet teachers put me on the verge of tears before, and I’m glad they did it. Do not ever complain that a choreographer is being too harsh on you or your team. It means that they care. And you will thank them for this later in life, because you will learn how to take criticism.
4. Knowing when to ask for help and when to help others
Dance is super competitive. Someone will always have more experience than you, and that is okay. Learn from these people. It is important in life to not be too prideful. You learn nothing when you ask nothing. Alternatively, there will be people who you have more experience than. Help these people. Encourage them and uplift them. You will attract the right people in life if you are selfless and compassionate.
5. Love yourself above all else
Unfortunately, I have known some girls to quit ballet because they felt too much pressure to be thinner. But there is no “proper size” in dance. And ballet isn’t always necessarily that strict. There will always be someone skinner than you, bigger than you, shorter than you, and taller than you. But you will learn to love yourself and your body. You rehearse for hours a day, in front of huge mirrors, focusing only on yourself, and the way your body is moving. It does wonders for your self-esteem, if you let it. If you know any dancers, you know that we are some of the most confident people, and we are extremely comfortable with the skin we’re in.