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Today I really wanted to touch on the importance of mindset and creating an environment to encourage adult ballet beginners. I am in no way an expert on this topic but I do have some experience. Let’s dive in.
So, what is a mindset anyways? While according to Oxford Languages Dictionary it means:
the established set of attitudes held by someone
What does this mean to us as adult beginners? I believe that is crucial for us as dancers but also studios to help set our mindset correctly. As an adult, we struggling with different things that a child might but honestly they are probably very similar. Often as a beginner we get caught up into a negative mindset about our technique and progress and let’s be honest, it takes us a long time to catch up to someone who has been going to ballet classes since they were 3! But that does not mean that we shouldn’t pursue our passion.
Here are my top 4 ways to reset your mindset:
- Don’t Compare
- Be open to correction and willing to learn
- Remember why you dance
This honestly can be a hard pill to swallow. But it’s often the most important first step to changing your mindset.
We need to accept that our bodies as adults haven’t had years of training to form it into the “classical” ballet look. That’s okay! We have a different story to tell than a 16-year-old. Our bodies have worked long hours, grew babies, and fought disease and trauma.
We bring a unique perspective to the stage and into class. When we accept where we are, it will be easier to progress forward. That doesn’t mean that we don’t set goals or have aspirations! I know one of my goals is to dance en pointe one day! Maybe it will take me longer or maybe I will be there within a couple of years. But it is one of my long-term goals.
Acceptance doesn’t equal complacency. We need to continue to normalize adult ballet beginners wanting to reach different levels, build technique, and artistry. Some adults are okay to go to an open class just for the enjoyment of the movement and great exercise. But others are there to advance and reach for their goals! There needs to be room for both in the adult ballet world.
This goes hand in hand with acceptance. Please do not ever compare yourself to any other dancer. We all come from different backgrounds and with different skills. One adult beginner may be naturally more flexible and another may be able to reach greater heights in grande jete’s easily, and for some nothing comes naturally at all. This is OKAY and NORMAL.
Use your strengths to your advantage but focus on building up your weakness (and we all know there is always room for improvement!)
Instagram can be a great place to build community and share your progress. But it is easy to get into a negative attitude about our bodies and skill level. Don’t fall into the comparison trap! Our bodies are so beautiful and uniquely designed. Everything about you is good enough. You are exactly where you need to be at this moment.
Check out this, ballet mindset book that is being released on December 7th! I have already pre-ordered it and can’t wait to read it!
Be Open To Correction
Correction is a GOOD thing. I think having a teacher help you 1:1 is an amazing opportunity and you shouldn’t take it for granted! Often as adults, we might get passed over in open classes. But adults can be just as serious about ballet as young dancers!
I personally love getting corrections. I want to know how something is supposed to feel, how my foot should look is passé if my arms are graceful wings (they usually aren’t ?). If we aren’t open to correction, then we will never advance and grow as a dancer.
Coming to ballet, with an open mind is important. It’s like learning to ride a very complicated bike as an adult. It’s HARD. But what will make it harder, and potentially dangerous, is not listening to corrections. Our teachers are there to keep us safe, build strength and technique, and artistry.
So listen up! They are usually giving you great feedback. I love to write any feedback that I hear or receive into my dance notebook. That way I can look back at it and apply those changes to my technique.
Remember Why You Dance
Sometimes you need to go back to the beginning to remember why you are striving forward. Why do you want to dance? Why ballet? Are you coming back to an old love or chasing a dream you’ve always had?
Remembering your why will help keep you motivated when it gets overwhelming or monotonous. And this will happen! At one point you won’t want to go to class or keep going. It’s important to learn the difference between needing REST and MOTIVATION.
Rest is beautiful and good for the body and mind. Often taking a break from class will help that move you have been trying to learn click into place or renew your love for ballet. But sometimes we just get lazy. We get busy with life and don’t make time. That’s when we need to remember are why to keep us moving forward and reaching our goals.
Something I have done is create a vision board! Whenever I don’t want to go to class because I’m being unmotivated, I look at my board and remember my why. I created this awesome template for you guys to download and use! Edit it with your favorite colors, pictures, words, and get motivated.
In the end, real mindset changes take time. It takes small actions every day to re-wire your brain’s thought process. That’s where the real magic is. When you choose to love yourself where you are at right at this moment while still striving toward your goals.
It’s possible. Stay strong, dancers, and stay motivated!
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