Career Development Plan - Loosing Confidence in Ballet Dancers

Career Development Plan - Loosing Confidence in Ballet Dancers

Hi team Odette

My name is Viktoria I started dancing for fun when I was three but took it more seriously at the age of 14 where I gained more intense training and was accepted into a dance school with a scholarship at 16. Sadly though the teachers had crushed my spirits right down and the hopes I had of becoming a professional ballerina as they told me how bad I was almost all of the time and always pointed out my flaws and what I didn't "have" as in wrong body type, no flexibility or turnout (however I was told by outsiders that's I was flexible and was capable of having great turnout as we know it's important how you use it and using your muscles correctly) after being there for two and a half years I got severely depressed and started to have real body issues fluctuating in weight and gained negative thoughts of myself which made it hard to work and concentrate in class especially with mirrors around. Losing confidence in myself as a person at the same time and never being able to keep my head up in class I realised something had to change. Do you have any advice on counselling for dancers or could recommend someone who's a specialist who works with dancers? To help me progress and move on so I can work hard again in class and achieve my goal of becoming a professional ballerina.


Reply by Odette
To:- Career Development Plan - Loosing Confidence in Ballet Dancers

Hello Viktoria,

Thank you for sharing your story and contacting me, I’m pleased to hear from you. I am no specialist or trained for counselling, but I have been through many ups and downs as a dancer which means I can entirely relate to you and will gladly act as a mentor to help support you. I would hugely recommend you talking through with someone to re-gain your confidence, whether it be your family and/ or a specialist.

I am sorry to hear what you went through, it is honestly a common story which I’ve seen with a lot of dancers though many stages of their career. Whether in school or a company, it can crush your confidence and you need to have such thick skin to survive in the ballet world.

First things first, it is your state of mind which I expect you need to work on to progress forward. It’s actually scary how overpowering your mind can be and it is the tiny daily habits which can transform your outlook. Once you start thinking negatively about yourself, it’s really hard to come out of this cycle. If you can start Yoga or meditation, I think this will bring you into the positive mind you need to progress forward. These kind of classes are very spiritual and bring you back to your self to a calm, inner state. With so much fury and thoughts running around your mind, sometimes you need that quiet time to remember what you what again.

Also, the importance of being around people who believe in you when you feel your lowest is really significant to how you can move forward. If you can start taking more ballet classes in a more relaxed environment, this will take the pressure off slightly and you’ll start enjoying it again like when you were younger.

There is a lot of advice I want to give you, so please keep in touch. For now, i will say every little counts and if you start each day to feel positive about yourself this will grow to become a habit. Make sure each action, whether in ballet or normal life, is done because you want to not from fear or judgment of others. There is a really good book I recommend you read named the “Seven Spiritual Laws of Success” by Deepak Chopra. It will change your perspective and can be the start of a new change.

Keep in touch!

Best wishes,

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