Poised For Success: 5 Lessons To Be Learned Through Dance

by Jessa Barron

Dance has been a major on-again, off-again part of my life since I was 5 years old.

Growing up, I tried basketball, soccer and several other sports, but dance is the only one I ever stuck with.

After finally getting back into it, after almost four years, I feel like a huge void in my life is filled. You learn so much more than just discipline and routine by being a dancer.

Here are five things I've learned from my time in the studio:

Everything in life is about balance

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.

When I am 100 percent focused on learning and perfecting the choreography, nothing else in the world matters. Having an escape from reality is vital to your sanity.

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. Choreographers yell at us 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.”

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, but I’m glad they did it. Do not ever complain that a choreographer is being too harsh on you or your team; it just means that he or she cares.

You will thank this person for this later in life because you will be able to take criticism in a positive and constructive way.

Knowing when to ask for help and when to help others

Dancing is super competitive. Someone will always have more experience than you, and that is okay; you can learn from those people. It is important to always be improving, and never believe you've reached your limit.

Alternatively, there will also be people who are less experienced than you. It's your job to help, encourage and uplift these people.

You will attract the right people in life if you are selfless and compassionate.

Love yourself above all else

Unfortunately, I have known some girls to quit ballet because they felt too much pressure to be thin. 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 or taller than you, so you must 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 moves. It does wonders for your self-esteem, if you let it shape you in a positive way.

If you know any dancers, you know that we are some of the most confident people out there, and we are extremely comfortable with the skin we’re in.

Photo credit: Black Swan