Developing Emotional Resilience as a Ballerina

Many artists rely on their emotions when it comes to expression. This fact is especially true for writers, artists, and, yes, even dancers.

Ballet is an art form that requires emotional resilience. While many people have noticed the physical strength and grace it takes to perfect certain moves, one must also learn to develop emotional strength.

In my book, “The Spark,” I briefly mentioned Emotional Quotient or E.Q. and how it can improve society.

What is Emotional Resilience?

Part of Emotional Intelligence is developing Emotional Resiliency. The latter refers to a person’s ability to deal with pressure, overcome challenges, and preserve their mental health. Being emotionally resilient can be especially useful for ballet dancers, who are judged on the fluidity and artistry of their craft.

Is the World of Ballet a Hostile Environment?

Ballet student Suvi Honkanen chronicles the emotional demands expected from a dance in her post here. As much as ballet can be a beautiful art form, many schools neglect their students’ well-being.

However, what stood out in this post is how Miss Honkanen states this:

“Ballet as an art form is not emotionally hostile, tough or cruel. It is the atmosphere created around it.”

I wholeheartedly agree with this. When young dancers perform their first complex moves, their face brightens with joy and accomplishment. When they are encouraged to try again with patience and understanding, they are empowered (not threatened). When a teacher creates a welcoming and inclusive environment, it can make all the difference in the world.

What Can Be Done?

Fortunately, RPM, or Revolutionary Principles of Movement, encourages, empowers, and inspires students and teachers. Unlike traditional teaching methods, this movement by Jo Anna Kneeland and Ruth Petrinovic helped replace these outdated methods.

By devising a system that allows dancers of all ages, physicalities, and aspirations—the system utilizes science without artists suffering for their art.

How Can I Develop Emotional Resilience?

Much like ballet, developing emotional resilience takes time and energy. However, here are some starting points to consider:

  • Connect with others. Surrounding yourself with people you trust and care for can be very fulfilling. When you know you’re not alone, you can always count on your loved ones to hear you out and even give you a helping hand.
  • Watch your thoughts. Our minds go into overdrive when we’re stressed and overwhelmed. If we’re not careful, we may internalize these negative thoughts. If you think and believe you’re a failure, disappointment, etc., please step back and take a deep breath. Allow yourself to be upset without insulting or belittling yourself. Nobody starts perfectly; what matters is that you try again.
  • Take care of yourself. When you don’t take care of your physical and mental health, it can affect many areas of your life. Start with the basics by eating the right food, exercising daily, and connecting with your loved ones.

Visit Revolutionary Principles of Movement:

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