We don’t dance for praise

I’ve often thought to myself: wow, I couldn’t be a professional dancer. Day in day out of correction and criticism, and if the dance documentaries I’ve seen are anything to go by, batsh*t craziness from your choreographer and/or director to boot. At the end of a performance you might get an enraptured audience, but you’ll definitely get an onslaught of critics. It must be tough to retain focus on your own abilities and what you’re doing right.

This got me thinking about us amateurs. We dance and get corrections, which we’re very grateful for. Sometimes I’ll pop in to a different teacher’s class, just to get more or differently-phrased corrections. I got severely man-handled the other week, which was great. My usual teacher will notice if I manage something I’ve been struggling with and say : yes! that’s a thousand times better! And he gives us general class-wide encouragement. We know when we’re really on it.

But. I don’t know what I’m particularly good at.

I know what feels really good to do. But so often in ballet what feels good and what’s correct don’t necessarily align.

I don’t dance for praise. I certainly don’t expect recognition for practising a hobby I really love to do. But the brain loves rewards and the learning process can be stimulated with well-judged encouragement. Could there be room in the amateur ballet studio for some of the praise the pros don’t seem to be allowed?



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