I was reading through some twitter posts the other day, opening up links to articles about various people who dance – not professional dancers but dancers who have various kinds of illnesses, who are in wheelchairs, or are just really old. And when I say old, dear youngsters, I don’t mean 30 or 40, I mean 80 or 90, just to be clear. It was really inspiring and humbling. I sat there looking at photos thinking about how beautiful it is when human beings enjoy the freedom of dance. And then I realized that when I look at photos or videos of myself dancing, I judge myself on something entirely different – not how much I love dancing, how hard I work, or my passion for dance. I judge myself on how I look and not if my line is nice, my feet are pointed, and my arms are pretty, but my weight and my body shape. I came to realize that part of my lack of motivation right now is my own ridiculous self judgement. I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve allowed my feelings about how I look dancing to override how I feel when I am dancing! I also admit that it is going to be an ongoing struggle to learn how to better deal with that because when it comes to ruthless self judgement, I am the Queen. It is hard not to be critical in a room full of mirrors but work on it I shall because loathing self judgement is not a good thing in any respect. And I want to get back into the studio and feel the joy of the music and the movement. Dancing should be about joy – and sweat and discipline and work but mostly joy – but definitely not about size.
I can totally relate! I’ve absolutely been there, but have mostly learned to move past it. Now i look at my feet or hands, because they still look pretty, but aviod everything on between, haha! But seriously, i try very hard now to just have fun & dance – its not like i’m going on stage so who cares?!
Thanks, Robin. I think you are right that there needs to be a line where I can say, who cares! and just dance. It’s being able to say that and sort of mean it that becomes the real challenge! 😉
Well I think many of us struggle with it! I know I do! Thanks for sharing this nice perspective and I hope you re-enter the studio joyfully and soon!
Thanks, Stef. Thank you for the confidence and courage of your blog! ❤
Your post reminds me of a strange thing that happened to me recently. A workshop teacher took the trouble to send me an e-mail just to tell me how much my dancing had improved since last year’s workshop. At first I was not happy at all, I was actually scared. I mean, as an adult non-professional dancer you are somehow expected to suck or you expect yourself to suck (especially if you are basically a shy person, like me). You even may have been told 150 times that you suck. So, suddenly being praised can scare you. My teacher’s praise scared me so much that I started working extra hard. Now, I usually do not like what I see in the mirror during dance class. But suddenly, I noticed that I was looking at my reflection in the mirror without feeling awkward. For the first time I felt I was not trying to dance like my teacher or any other dancer I admire. For the first time I was dancing like myself. Like my middle-aged, chubby, somewhat sweaty self. And I liked that. (I can’t explain why that happened. I hope it will happen for you, too.)
Paulina, your comment brought tears to my eyes! (((hug))) What a beautiful and amazing transformation – to dance like yourself! What a joy!!! I understand completely about the “suck expectation.” I feel that constantly. I am a terribly shy person too so the very fact that I have undertaken this quest is strange and at odds with how private and solitary I am. Getting out and dancing very badly in front of people has been both rooted in a passion for dance but also a strange fear of forever sucking – a fear and an expectation to always suck! I am so happy for you that you have experienced this change in your dancing and in your self-view! I am definitely going to take that to heart! ❤
I can relate to you post totally! I never thought about it before you said it out loud. Thanks for eye-opening blog post!
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