When you have made it to the point where dance is your career, there has to have been bravery along the way. This is not the path of least resistance. Ever. There is always a struggle along the way. The struggles come in many forms: disappointment, self-doubt, injury, and sacrifice.
Disappointment can come out of so many avenues of dance. It could be not getting the part for which you were perfect. It could be rejection from the future partner of your dreams. It could be losing in a competition. It could be blanking on stage. Disappointment can be an easy reason to give up. It can be the excuse you need at the end of a struggle to just throw in the towel and give up. Why not? This path is hard.
Self-doubt creeps in often for dancers. The doubt can be that this is so challenging that you wonder whether it is really worth it. Maybe you over-analyze the physical body – this can be related to weight, shape, expressivity, restrictions in movement, among others. The physical body is constantly in plain view since we spend so many hours in the mirror analyzing ourself. It can be the easiest thing to pick on ourself about because it is there for the picking. Self-doubt if it speaks too loudly can be a career ender. It is a constant struggle to ignore it, but for some it creates phobias and anxiety that are never overcome.
Injury is another source of bravery. Injury comes with the territory. We are constantly pushing our bodies to do be stronger, longer, faster, higher. It is no wonder that injury occurs. The injury can be sustained due to many things. Proper warm-up, hydration, and nutrition make for lowered risk, but hitting a step wrong, slipping, or just having an off-balance day can take you on a crash course to injury no matter how you tried to reduce injury potential.
Sacrifice is another great reason to get out as well. The sacrifice for dance comes in so many forms that it can be overwhelming. It can involve sacrificing social situations because rest is so important. It can be a sacrifice of the body – pushing through pain, chronic injuries, and fatigue. There are days the work has to still be done even though the body is fighting for a day off. There can be sacrifice of pursuing other interests because there is a lack of time.
All the barriers take bravery to overcome. Dance requires bravery to survive and to thrive. If you choose to stay on the career path of dance, you will have to dig deep. You will have to find energy that you didn’t know you could tap into. You will have to find strength – physical, mental, and emotional – beyond anything you believed you possessed. In the end though, you will look at yourself at the end of each day and once a while you will catch a glimpse of the bravery within yourself. Recognizing that will make everything worth it.