There’s a certain mindset that dancers need in order to succeed. It’s easy, at the beginning of any new art or craft, to be self-doubting, sensitive to criticism, or to compare yourself to others. However, that line of thinking will get you nowhere as a dancer. With diligent practice and a clearer sense of what they’re doing, dancers gradually develop more confidence and drive. This mindset will help them not only with dancing, but in their growth as a person, as well.
Confidence is key to any dancer’s mindset. If you don’t think you can handle a certain complicated step in your routine, your negative mindset will probably lead you to failure. Dancers need to carry themselves with poise and confidence on stage, and when they do, that confidence can also follow them off stage. It’s an important distinction, however, that confidence is not the same as arrogance. Dancers should never assume push themselves too far or assume that they’re without limits at all. A confident dancer knows their strengths and their limits and plays on those strengths while practicing regularly to improve their limits.
When you first start dancing, you’re guaranteed to make mistakes or struggle with certain aspects. It can be discouraging, and it leads many dancers to want to throw in the towel. To make it to the stage, you have to keep trying, even when you don’t feel confident. Set your sights on your goal and keep working until you get there--because you will get there. It won’t always be easy, but in dance especially, persistence is often rewarded with skill.
It does take time, however. No one has ever become a world class dancer overnight. For every minute on stage in a recital, there’s hours of practice behind it. Practice may not always be enjoyable, and it may not always feel like you’re getting anywhere, but dancers with persistence know that you have to be patient and just keep showing up for practice. Eventually, you’ll start to notice a change. That’s true of most things in life, so to practice patience in dance can help prepare you for anything else you may face later.
Openness to Criticism
When your coach or a more experienced dancer offers you a suggestion or a piece of advice, you should always listen. It’s never easy to hear that you’ve done something wrong, but it’s the best way you can grow as a dancer and as a person. Criticism is different from mean-hearted insults. Coaches and peers who offer you constructive, pointed criticism do so to help you become a better dancer, not to discourage you. If they didn’t think you were capable of improvement, they wouldn’t offer the criticism. Developing the humility and openness to helpful criticism is important to facing anything you pursue in your life.
A dancer’s strength comes largely from their team. A good dance team works to make each other better, building each other up and supporting each other, so that the team as a whole is stronger. Sometimes when you’re frustrated and discouraged, it can be easy to want to do it yourself, and that can hurt your efforts. As a dancer, you can’t do it alone because your team is counting on you to work with them. This team player mindset is vital to your persistence, your confidence, your ability to listen to criticism, and it can help you in every aspect of your life. No matter what challenges you face, you know you won’t have to do it alone.
The more you dance, the more natural this mindset will become to you. You’ll start to see the effects, too, in school work, your social life, and any other hobbies. With a great coach and dance team to help you grow as a dancer and a person, you can find the right mindset to achieve your goals.