Mental Health of a Dancer
Dancers have some of the most difficult jobs. We are artists, physicists, organizers, models, actors, businessmen, and more.
Managing all of this can be extremely difficult, especially since our career generally entails leaving home at such a young age. Something that we have to keep in the back of our minds amid all of this chaos is our mental health. We get so wrapped up in success that we forget about life. We have one chance to live, and once the past is gone we can’t return to it. This being said, I urge dancers to find outlets. I love ballet with my whole heart, but sometimes things don’t always go as wanted and finding something outside that you love can help keep you sane and happy.
Happiness is a choice and you need to make it happen for yourself. For example, I’ve recently rediscovered my love for books and it has been absolutely life changing. If I don’t have rehearsals one day, I sit outside and can read for hours completely satisfied and not sulking because I’m out of the studio. The process of developing your career takes decades, and we have to be super patient with it.
When you start off in a company, usually you begin at the bottom. However, this isn’t a time to sulk, but to find ways to enjoy each year. Your career won’t last forever and each year is truly different. The brain is very powerful, and if you have a positive outlook on life, things will automatically appear better and you begin to search for the good in all situations. For example, a cast list goes up and you aren’t cast how you wanted to be. Rather than getting down, think of it as a time period to focus on yourself and improve upon basic technique. Work harder in class, use a studio on your own to work on some turns or adagio, or go to the gym! You have to remember that if you’re truly giving everything you can to this art form, fate will reward you some day.
Good things come to those who wait (and work!) and everything happens for a reason. If you remember and truly believe these three things, you are instantly setting yourself up for a better experience, more successful career, and most importantly, a healthier life. It’s your life and you have the power to choose what you want to do with it.