Personally, I am a great advocate of dedication and pushing yourself beyond the limits of a comfort zone. I would be that one person telling you over and over again things like, “No pain, no gain!” and “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work!” But we need to put some limits on that mentality and discipline ourselves not to step over the line.
In a previous blog post, I wrote about reasons why Irish dance is good for you. (Read it here: 6 Reasons Why Irish Dance Is Really Good For You). Today’s post is the other side of the story where I’m going to talk about a couple of alarming symptoms that dancers face very often in their careers and should keep in mind.
Never a good idea. There’s time to dance and there’s time for sleep, for friends, for a relaxing evening in in front of a TV. Not every minute spent at the studio is beneficial. Sometimes you just have to stop and go home. The secret is knowing when to wrap it up, and that moment is when dancing brings more frustration than joy. Even though dancing seems like the most important thing in your life and you have decided that this is what you want to do for the rest of your life, it can’t become everything in your life. Don’t neglect your friendships, time with your family, your pets, little things that make you feel good like sleeping in on a Saturday. You will not lose your chance for the globe if you give yourself a break once in a while. In fact, you will probably have better chances of success if you let your body and mind take a day off once a week.
Dancers are very prone to body image issues, simply because their body is their instrument and their canvas, and they are expected to be graceful and captivating. But graceful does not mean starved and pretty is not always the same as skinny. Focus on what you eat and not how much you eat. A dancer’s body is a strong, muscular machine, and the fuel for keeping the machine going is healthy, nutritious and balanced diet. Love your body and treat it well, and it will help you create magic on stage. One of Albert Einstein’s most cited quotes is that “Dancers are athletes of God.” Athletes train and eat, they don’t exercise and diet.
This is a well known fact: if you push too hard, you are risking a severe injury. Stress fractures, shin splints, torn or ruptured ligaments. It all hurts a lot, but the emotional pain of not being able to dance for a long period of time is much greater. You do not need that. It’s better to take a day off from dancing than not to be able to walk, much less dance in weeks! Physical and mental health are very important for a successful dance career. By watching out for these symptoms you can help yourself or your loved ones be better and happier dancers.
Photo credit: Image is courtesy of and belongs to blog author.
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