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dancers and perfectionism

The Colman Creative Academy team work with the Danscend mental wellbeing council to understand the problems in which dancers may face in the studio, performances and life and learn how to support our students when these occasions arise as well as how to integrate this training into our classes.

This month our students have been exploring 'perfectionism' and what this means to them as well as how to deal with this safely. This is a topic that everyone faces even outside of the 'dance world' and is so important to explore and understand which is why we have decided this week to theme our blog on this topic.

Define Perfectionism: "The wish for everything to be correct or perfect" - taken from the Cambridge English Dictionary.

Perfectionism in small amounts can be health. This would include things such as setting high goals or standards for yourself but if these goals become impossible, not maintainable and begin to control everything in which you do then this then becomes unhealthy.

Do you think you are a perfectionist?

There are three types of perfectionism;

  1. Socially prescribed perfectionists - Very self critical - Feel immense pressure to be the best and worry others will reject them

  2. Other-oriented perfectionists - Hold others to a high standard - Can be critical and judgmental - Hard to build working relationships

  3. Self-oriented perfectionists - Organised and conscientious - High standards for themselves in life and careers - Able to go after their goals - Great productivity and success

Dance & Perfectionism

As performers we put ourselves in front of an audience, performing a dance, song, acting piece. This is a very vulnerable position but performers thrive off the ability to showcase their talent to others and it is extremely exciting. However as performers we are also constantly thriving to be the best we can be and sometimes we can be hard on ourselves especially with modern day access to social media.

In dance it can be easy to compare yourself to others, feel bad if you can't pick up choreography on that particular day, create standards for yourself which are just not sustainable.

It is extremely important that others around you are able to support you as a performer, help you through the more challenging days and help you to see how much you are progressing and growing as an individual.

At the Studio

At Colman Creative Academy we pride ourselves in supporting every single child's individual progress and try our best to notice when perfectionism maybe coming unhealthy for individuals. We work hard to ensure every student feels safe and comfortable to make mistakes in the studio environment as this is where growth truly happens.

We are able to support students to encourage a positive mindset when things get challenging and love seeing when students are open about the challenges they face within the studio as they reach the age to understand and acknowledge this.

During this topic with our Junior Musical Theatre and Dancers Development students we have implemented a 3 positive replacement strategy. When a student is beginning to feel like they are struggling with anything such as performing a technical pirouette, picking up new choreography, performing a solo song, demonstrating a cartwheel... and are turning towards negative thoughts like 'I can't do this', we have asked them to stop and think about three things they have done really well in the class that day. Whether this be helping another student, remembering to bring their lyrics to class or getting through the whole length of a plank. We have found by implementing this our students are feeling much more positive and motivated during periods which they would previously have felt defeated and is a life skill that can be used throughout a normal day.

The mental wellbeing of our students is extremely important to our team and academy and the training from Danscend enables us to continue to develop this month after month and we hope to continue this throughout the years of Colman Creative Academy


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