Dancing through Negative Thoughts

Dance has been the most important aspect of my life since I can remember. 

I have never been as in touch and connected with my mind and body as I do when I dance.  The connectedness I experience in my body and mind whether in rehearsal or on stage is indescribable and unquantifiable.  A lot of work goes into finding mind and body synergy, also in finding your own voice in a room full of extremely determined individuals trying to figure out the same thing. 

I believe that dance is arguably one of the toughest career paths in the world. 

We attempt to discover our own individuality in the presence of a universal standard that can and will diminish our sense of self worth and self love.  I grew up aspiring to be the ‘perfect’ dancer that many of my teachers described. Perfect feet, perfect long legs, perfect arms, perfect body type, perfect turns etc.  If I forgot a portion of choreography, fell out of a turn, or sickled my foot, it was the end of the world to me.  It sounds so silly when you write it down…. “I can’t believe I fell out of a single pirouette, I’m a terrible dancer, I’m never going to make it, I’m not good enough.” I have a very good feeling that I am not the only dancer out there who has taken time out of their day to create a negative and ridiculing narrative, convincing themselves that pursuing a career in dance is not attainable simply because of one mistake or flaw.

Why do we think this way? Do I need to be more like that dancer? Do I have the right body type? To this day I still more often than not, resort to negative thinking paths.   

I believe that negative thinking resulting from our own insecurities in alignment of our definition of ‘perfection’ will probably never go away in this art form.  We are surrounded by many many artists with limited grants, performance opportunity, and contracts. With extremely high dance technical standards that will only continue to rise, there most likely will always be someone in the studio or on stage that you think can do it ‘better’ than you or your dance teachers telling you to ‘do it like him/her’.

How on our journeys do we keep up with a standard that is constantly rising without being critical of ourselves all while trying to maintain a sense of self worth and self love?

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to completely answer this question however, finding methods and processes such as energy healing and meditation have helped to reverse negative and critical thinking. I have Desirée Dunbar, Artistic director of Dezza Dance, to thank for introducing me to these methods who have changed me for the better! 

by Jenna Kraychy

Jenna Kraychy is a dance artist in the Catalyst Mentorship Program and a BFA student at Simon Fraser University.  See Jenna in CHIAROSCURO March 10 & 11, 2017 in Vancouver.  

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