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As dancers grow and begin to take on more responsibility and partake in more competitions, it is common to reach a certain stage where a certain motivation and passion towards their career will begin to deteriorate. This could be due to a number of reasons, and some of the most common causes have been listed below, and hopefully can be used as food for thought.

 

Examinations

 

Excess pressure with school: As exam periods begin, it can be difficult to focus on two things at once. However, it has in point of fact been suggested that taking a break from activities outside of school during exams may not be the best course of action. Having something other than revision to focus on could be a relief for students, and a welcome break, which will enable them to take their mind off the stress of exams. It may be worth communicating with the dance teacher during those times, and finding an agreement about the possibility of altering training hours/days during that period, if deemed necessary. This will also aid the teacher in knowing how to deal with said students, as during examinations students concentration and emotions tend to rise high.

 

Friendships

 

This is a big one when it comes to the end of many dancing careers. There has been an astonishing amount of ex-performers admitting to ending their dance careers due to peer pressure, and their need to fit in with friends that have the time to hang out, attend parties, go on dates and so on. More often than not, the same dancers have admitted to missing dancing and wishing that they had never stopped.

 

Falling outs with fellow dancers/teachers

 

As dancers mature and become more experienced, so do the pressures of this art form. It is often the case, especially during high pressured situations when misunderstandings and emotions run high. The teacher was sharper with you than he/she used to be, your friend who is competing against you is being distant, pressures of performance and results are increasingly rising. All the above, when added with pressure could lead to poor judgments and rash decisions, which unfortunately result in end of teacher-student relationships, friendships and in some cases, can lead to the termination of dance careers.

 

Whilst every dancer strives for the best, it is important to remember the reason they took up this art form, and how they fell in love with dancing in the first place.

 

The teacher who has watched their dancer grow and develop, while harsh words and actions may escape during big events, only wishes the best for the dancer. They have been there with their dancers’ right from the start, and feel all just as equally, and in some cases, even more fiercely than the dancers themselves.

 

Good communication is key, so if you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed, your teacher will always be there to listen. This may also be a good opportunity for them to evaluate how their actions or words could have affected you during those stressful periods. As performers get older, the teaching styles they require and their teachers’ style will also develop. This could be the perfect opportunity to discuss such developments, as what worked for you when you were younger, may not necessarily work for you still. This can be a difficult transition for the teacher also, as it is easy to stick to familiar coaching styles, especially when they have had children from a very young age, who stick with them until they are young adults.

 

The friend that seems distant may be in the same boat as you, and believe that you are being distant also. If this distance is due to the fact you are competing against each other, talk it out. It is important to try to maintain the friendships you have made over the years, for the sake of the friendship as well as demonstrating good sportsmanship and team spirit.

 

High expectations and big events can indeed be a big cause of dancers’ anxiety, therefore getting your priorities straight is important. Depending on the dancers’ individualism and character, parents may wish to ease coming nerves by discussing something irrelevant to the performance, or how lessons went and how was the teacher or the friend that day. If this is not the approach you think is required, then going through all the above and rationalising each situation could also be a good route. This could help your dancers understand why the above are happening, and how they could go about dealing with those situations.

 

EndorphinsDance facts

 

Losing sight of why you love to dance

 

Over the years, it is easy to lose sight of why you love doing what you do. This is especially the case during busy seasons, when exams and competitions seem like a never ending loop. This, included with reasons similar to the ones listed above, could lead the dancer seeing dance as a chore, rather than something they do for enjoyment and love.

 

It is difficult, as the way dancers train depends sorely on age, ability and level. If the dancer is simply performing and viewing dance as a hobby, and as something to keep their physical fitness up, then this is easier to handle and keep a light view upon.

 

However, if the dancers’ goal is to compete and has high expectations and ambitions, this is where viewing dance as a passion can at times become challenging. As much as the dancer has to love what they do, they also have to remain disciplined and focused, and this is where emotions can get crossed and the love for the art from is possible to decrease.

 

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Reigniting your love for dancing

 

There are many ways a dancer might choose to find that passion for performing again. This is something only they can reignite, and in their own way. However, below there are some possible actions that as a dancer, they may wish to consider.

 

Remembering all the good times they have had along the years. It may be difficult to remember happier days, when the added pressure of exams and expectations of parents, coaches and the expectations the dancer puts on their own shoulders is added. Training has become more intense, and so have the teaching styles of the dance coaches. However, as mentioned previously, it is vital to remember why the coaches are being so hard on their dancers. They only want the best for them, and if their goals and ambitions are high, so will be their responsibility to get their dancers there.

 

Re-watching old recordings of dance competitions and performances is always an action which every dancer will take now and again. It usually ends in fits of laughter or hiding behind a cushion, as they can’t believe how bad their point was, or how ridiculous they looked in that pumpkin costume – while parents insist on their cuteness levels, and ponder where the time has gone.

 

Recalling all the friendships made along the way. Some may have lost touch, and others may still play a significant part in the dancers’ life. In most cases than not, dance groups tend to see each other as families – and your dance family will always be there for you no matter what.

 

Thinking about all the experiences and opportunities dance has provided you throughout the years. Whether it be dance competitions in various locations around the country, or international trips abroad, dance has definitely enabled you with many destinations to tick off your travel list. Auditions or master classes with professional dancers, performances for music videos or back dancers for a tv event, photography sessions for dance CVs. Those could all be things you may have had the opportunity to experience with your dance family.

 

Remembering how good it felt when you performed well and your efforts were rewarded with results and praise. This is when all the hard work pays off, seeing how far you have come after all those hours in the dance studio, instead of being with your friends at the park. Even though you feel as though you are missing the opportunity to spend time with your friends, it is highly possible that your friends actually admire you for what you do. Good friends will support and feel happy for you when you succeed, and will not begrudge you for not being able to attend a party when you have to attend training for an event instead.

 

Think about the life skills dance has provided you with, whether it be team work, discipline, organisational skills and time management, which are all skills that will play a vital part when you apply for jobs in the future.

 

What is your ambition for the future? Where do you see yourself or would like to be in a 10 years’ time? Think about your end goal.

 

Performing on the West End stage, dancing away on a cruise or even alongside musicians or film stars? All are possible when you are a performer, and having what we call a ‘triple threat’ will allow you more opportunities to get hired. When we use the ‘triple threat’ term, this means having skills in:

 

• Dancing Musical notes
• Singing
• Acting

 

If the performance route is the one you are looking on pursuing, then maybe start thinking about any extra lessons you could take for acting or singing. The more experience and skills the dancer acquires, the better.

 

If the performance route in not something you see yourself going down and you are hoping for something more academic, then maybe it is time to think about adding less pressure to yourself when dance competitions and exams are near.

 

Analyse all the negatives with all the positives. Can you change something about the negatives? Are they realistic? When you think about them calmly, is this still a major problem? Is there some way this can be solved?

 

Find what motivates you. Whether this is beating your last score, or gaining a medal position, managing to execute five pirouettes, expanding your flexibility or making yourself this month’s hardest worker. Find something that motivates you, and put all your focus in to that goal.

 

Tired of the daily routine? Perhaps consider attending extra classes, or trying out some different styles. Thinking about auditions, what styles and lessons would be worth attending? What could be of use to you?

 

In fact, whether needed or not, it may be fun to attend something different, without the pressure of doing it out of necessity. This could be a fun way to really enjoy dancing again.

 

In the end, whatever the dancer decides to do, it is important to support their decision and make them feel heard. It may be the case, that a short break is needed. Taking a break does not mean the end of their dancing career. If the break turns out to be something more permanent then this is also something only the dancer can decide, hopefully with the guidance and support of those around them.

 

Whatever the outcome, you will always have the memories, friendships, knowledge and experience you have gained through dancing. Think about all you have achieved throughout the years, and know that these are things that no one can ever take away from you.

 

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