Dear Dream Seekers,
You are wonderful. You are inspiration. You are life being lived.
I love seeing so many adult ballerinas emerging currently. Particularly on Instagram, it’s like watching these beautiful buds of hidden desires start opening their dare-to-dream petals and blossom into the most beautiful, soulful dancers.
Something I have noticed is that there seems to be an ever persistent pressure flowing from within many of the adult ballet students I see.
Inner pressure to be good at something we love is not a new thing. It is natural to want to progress.
And I am no stranger to that inner pressure. I felt it. I breathed it in and out, day and night. And it happily went and killed my love of ballet (for a while.)
And so I feel a little sad when I see people putting huge amounts of pressure on themselves to be better at something they love.
I mean, if you love it, then you should be doing it for love.
Let’s repeat that: If you love it, you should be doing it for love.
I know that you want progress. And I know that the ballet studio is a pretty intense place regarding your progress — indeed, it can sometimes feel like a comparison festival is happening in each class.
Everything you want is a valid desire. Improvement, enjoyment, strength, musicality, memories, flexibilities. It’s up to you what you want to aim for. It’s your life. Your choice. No-one else can, or has the right to, choose them for you.
But please be sure to think about it first. Think about you and what you really want because of how those things make YOU feel.
Don’t look at what someone else is doing and just follow along. God knows, you might wake up ten years from now able to do the splits but not able to dance in the centre. You might then shake your fists in the air and scream at yourself for following the splits trend only because it was what others were doing — and you missed getting your teacher to help you learn some amazing mini-solo piece that feels like heaven to dance.
Don’t set yourself up to one day wreak of regret.
So, with that in mind, what I do hope you do is sit with yourself a while. Ask yourself what you feel in this moment you want to do — like actually do right now — because you never know what amazing idea might have been waiting to flow through you but just hasn’t had the window opened to it before.
Then, ask yourself what you think you might regret NOT doing in twenty years time. I usually get my deepest inspirations flowing from this one.
Then lovingly think about all the things you, your body and mind, are good at doing. Really appreciate those things. If ballet is your thing, maybe you’re really musical and your body just naturally flows with the music, maybe you have lovely hand expressions, maybe you have a sparkly passion, maybe you have strong muscles, maybe you can smile during class (harder for some than others!), maybe you understand combinations, maybe you are flexible, or have lovely feet, or maybe you feel your soul fill up during ballet class.
These are all wonderful elements of what you do and of how you feel. I feel it’s important to fully embrace them. Soak yourself in the things about you and your passion, that you love.
When thinking about what goals to set yourself, or what path to set off on, I think it’s really important to take stock first, of all the wonderful parts of yourself that already exist within your passion.
I would look at what you love doing now, look at what you would regret not doing, and set your path accordingly.
If achieving the splits for ballet is part of that path then set your goals and go for it. If it’s smiling more during class, or learning a combination, or performing — then set your goals and go for them.
But be sure to start your intentional path with the full acceptance of how incredible you already are.
Be sure that you don’t discount all of your gloriousness and just focus on what you cannot yet do. If you do that you will be starting your journey with a destructive cycle of focusing on your downfalls. You should be real about yourself. But leave the negativity at the door. If negative self-worth is already an issue for you then I would suggest adding that to your goals — “Learn to love myself for all that I am.” That, and if neccesary, see a therapist, because honestly, that bullshit will become a serious obstacle to you fully realising your dreams.
So, in summary…
1) Align your goals with what YOU enjoy doing and what you feel you will regret not doing.
2) Make sure to begin your path to your goals/dreams/passions swimming in self-appreciation for all the wonder you already are.
Always remember why you’re doing it.
Always respect yourself for doing it.
Always hold your head high.
You deserve to be in the room.