My summer goal: Building confidence

It happened again today.

There I am at the end of the line, going by myself. I am the only non-company dancer, or former professional dancer who also teaches. Their eyes are on me. So is Mr. O, the artistic director.

We were sort of free-lancing it at the end of class. Big jumps, our choice.

Saute, fi-e, glissade, assemble’ (and beating the assemble’ while in the air), that was my chosen combination. It’s a safe combination, one I know I can do.

Just before I took off … a thought hits my mind … Oh God, now they’re going to see how bad I suck.

I don’t think I did that badly, although I fear I might have bent my knees a couple of times doing the saute (cardinal sin to do in front Mr. O). It didn’t feel perfect. I know my feet weren’t shaped properly coming down in the assemble’. And I don’t think I entirely hit the music right.

You know I envy the young gun-company male dancer in the class who recently signed a contract with a company in South Carolina. When it’s just him, that’s the way he wants it. He likes to soar through the air. He wants all eyes on him.

But me, if I go alone, or if I lead a group and I’m first, the confidence level drops, I don’t jump as high, I don’t do steps nearly as well. I do them timidly, even if I know them and have done them 1,000 times (and if Mr. or Mrs. O are watching me, the level drops even further).

I tried to work on it some today. But doing something by myself made me confront the demon even more.

Usually, during the summer, when our teachers rotate teaching the open classes that I take. I’ll try to pick something specific, something tangible, like trying to perfect double pirouettes (my eternal goal).

But this summer, I think I need to put a premium on trying to dance with more confidence, and maybe work on those situations when I am going by myself, or when I lead a group, especially a group of dancers less experienced than myself.

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5 responses to “My summer goal: Building confidence

  • disneyballerina

    I’ve totally been there before. I’ve felt exactly like you describe. What has helped me is to just remember, those people may be professionals, but they love dancing. And they probably love that an adult shares this passion. They most likely want to see you succeed. I’ve learned that most are very encouraging and helpful if you ask questions. I just get up there, try my very best, and hope I don’t fall hah! I give you credit for dancing with them week after week! Keep up the great work! πŸ™‚

  • RO

    Man this sounds familiar! Just remember that you’re dancing company classes!! You’re doing great just keep your head up and soar through the air too πŸ˜‰

  • loveballet89

    Thanks for the encouragement. It’s something I really want to work on because I know some of the little things that need to improve will if I can just pick up the confidence.

  • The Traveling Dancer

    Hi there. I struggle with the exact same thing. I like to be in the middle – that’s where I feel safe. I don’t like being first, I don’t like moving across the floor by myself. Ugh. How do you build confidence?

    I took one company class and I only stayed for barre. It was a little intimidating and all I wanted to do was watch the beautiful company members do their thing so KUDOS to you for taking class with them and sticking it through till the end. This in itself is a feat that you should be proud of. πŸ™‚

    • loveballet89

      I know the feeling about moving across the floor on my own. But I have little choice. My teachers make us all do it. And when we’re in lines, they rotate us. No staying in the middle. No staying in back. Everyone eventually gets their chance in the front.

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