So it’s the start of the year and you’re bursting to get back into the studio and into dance but when you do you find yourself feverishly watching others and comparing yourself and, presto, all that joyous expectancy turns to frustration. Sound familiar? Then let’s try and change that scenario once and for all because comparison in the dance studio can be agony and totally ruin your self confidence and self motivation to boot, or should I say pointe shoe, WHEN comparison could be inspiring and motivating.
Firstly, remember that time spent watching others in the mirror during an exercise means you’re not fully concentrated on yourself. And so you are losing out. If a quick glance reveals higher legs or jumps or perhaps more adage control then using that knowledge to work on putting a plan into place to improve those areas is a good way to turn frustration into focus on SELF, and that’s what’s at stake here. When you watch others in class, your class time can become all about them versus you. Class should always be about YOU.
Social Media is another perfidious trap as you scroll and scroll through more and more perfect examples of dance comparing them to yourself. Please remember these seemingly perfect dancers may have filmed hundreds of clips before hitting the perfect clip to download and if you put in the same amount of time and effort yourself in the studio who knows what you might achieve too.
Using Social Media to be inspired and/or to admire other dancers compatible in age, abilities and training means the time spent has been rewarding and positive. If this isn’t happening and you are getting frustrated, jealous, demotivated or worse then it’s time to have some serious thought on how much time you spend on Social Media and again on using that time for yourself to practise in the studio or at home.
To accurately compare yourself to another dancer also means finding someone your age, with the amount of training you have received to date, your or similar teachers, your natural talents and abilities and your figure and let’s be honest unless you have an identical twin this probably won’t happen. True comparison is just not possible meaning that any comparison is going to be slanted and off centre - a bit like the pirouettes you do when trying to watch and compare to others during a pirouette exercise. DON'T DO IT.
Comparing yourself to others to motivate yourself to work harder, learn quicker or simply enjoy how they tackle a step is great and will help you become a more positive and stronger dancer but other negative forms of comparison in class, competitions and/ or on Social Media are going to ruin your progress and your self confidence - so how about kicking the habit once and for all.
Keep reminding yourself that class is about you and the next most important person is your TEACHER and what they are saying. Everyone else is unimportant unless you are actively and positively using other dancers as Benchmarks which is a great learning tool. More on Benchmarks next Blog.