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Advice on staying positive?

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I feel like I've been going through a rough spot the past 3-4 weeks and getting very down on myself. That has led to my feeling rather flustered and frustrated in class, which doesn't help me do well, and on it goes. Any advice or "been there, done that" stories to help me get out of this slump and back to being able to see the things that are improving and enjoying class and not just beating myself up over the multitude of things that I feel so discouraged about? I'm not flexible nor do I have copious amounts of turnout, and I have only a year and a half or so of ballet to my name, so much of what I do looks less than great. Maybe I just want someone to reassure me that this is normal for a beginner and that these feelings will pass. Do I sound terribly whiny? I feel like it. :ermm: I can't depend on my teachers to build me up, but I'm having a hard time doing it for myself lately.

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Although I don't teach dance, I see this process all the time in the students (young adults) I do teach. And I've experienced it myself as a lifelong ballet student (oh yes!! :ermm::blushing: ).


An inspirational ballet teacher of mine used to say that it's when you're falling over your feet that you're learning. Learning anything is hard and difficult, and we hit various stages of conscious and free progression and then those plateaux of frustration when it feels as if we're going backwards. Sounds like that's where you are.


But it means that you are actively learning, rather than marking your place in work you have already mastered. So that's good, if frustrating.


It will pass, but it doesn't feel like it! And that negative vicious cycle of getting down and/or tense doesn't help, does it? Well, that's what I find -- I have to break the negative self-talk, and just take class moment by moment. I try to focus just on doing what I'm doing as well as I can, rather than thinking about the bigger picture. Good luck! It will pass ...

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When I feel like this, which lately has been more often than in the past, I just think about the fundamentals: breathing, alignment, and so on down the list, and smile, as my teacher requests- I find the the action of smiling actually makes me feel a bit better. I visualize my completing whatever has me most frustrated. Right now, its logarithms that are frustrating more than dancing but boy have I spent my fair share of time on the literal and figural wine couch lately!

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There is some really helpful information in some of the stickies on, I think, the Adult Ballet Student's board, maybe it would be helpful to read them. Hope things start getting better soon. :ermm:

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Well...been there, done that ...since I began ballet at 24 a few years ago, I've felt like this at least once a year...I say to myself "It's hopeless, why don't you give up and try another sport, etc"...I was like you when I begun too, not flexible and with no turn out , but I can definitively give you hope on that point : even as an adult, you can work on and gain both ; I'(ve found floor barre nearly everyday helped a lot !

anyway, I think ballet is sort of addictive ...when I've wanted out, I've always come back, because I love the combination of sport and classical music ! no other sport does the same for me, although I play tennis occasionally, I've played golf, I've ridden horses, but it's not good for my back....

so cheer up, it's quite normal to think you're not making progresses, or even going backwards ! it happens to everybody !

is it possible for you to beginning pointe work ? that would give you a new challenge !

good luck ! :ermm:

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What you're experiencing is normal for anyone in ballet at any level. Best advice is to try to not get caught up in the emotions and just focus for now on what you're trying to accomplish with your body in a somewhat detached manner. Most things that seemed nearly insurmountable at the time end up looking pretty minor in hindsight.

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Dancingjet, .......been in those rough spots, done the self-questioning, seen it come and pass, got the t-shirt. Just keep dancing if it ultimately brings you joy. And no, you are certainly not whiny; yes, this phase will come to pass. The beautiful turnouts and flexibility come with dedicated practice. The more classes you have per week, the closer you will get to your idealized turnout and flexibility.


The hurdles, the disappointments, the temporary walls.....yes, they will always be there at different times. We all have them, no matter how long we've been dancing. Hung on the wall of one of the dance studios I dance in is this inspirational motto: Live, Love, Dance


All the best to you.



I resurrect some of my older posts:

Arm-Leg-Mind Coordination

Balance shift?

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I'm so glad this isn't just me and that others have felt this way. Truly, I've wondered lately if I'm actually getting worse, let alone not improving?! It sounds like it will pass, and I will practice detaching a bit from my emotions for the time being. I really want to go to class, so I have to figure out how to work through this. The thought of quitting - well, it just isn't an option!

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It's always darkest right before dawn.

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The nice thing about not being a professional dancer is... you can take a break when you feel like it!!

I just took a few days off.. in anticipation of a crazy weekend of dress rehearsals and shows.


It helps clear the mind and reminds you of other joys in life. And yeah, ballet has a looong learning curve.

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Taking a break from class right before a weekend of dress rehearsals and shows would turn me into a nervous wreck about how I'd perform in the show :devil: .


I tend to have bad classes right before a run because of self doubt, but I think that's normal. I like to take a few needed days away, if necessary, after the show is completed.


Yes, progress is not a steady state, and learning to work effectively despite the frustration is, IMO, part of the training process itself. All dancers at all levels deal with it. I'm sure it's the same in all athletic endeavors.

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Well, I've been really negative about myself and the show, and it went from fun -> burden.

:( You know how those self-talk go, you think about a conversation you had with a teacher/director and then you have imaginary arguments in your head, and then you beat yourself up...


Anyways, the 3 days off got my head off circles.. not to mention make me less sick of the music that i used to love but have been over-eexposed to in the last 4 months, so hopefully I will have a good dress rehearsal and optimism about the show :)

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Weighing in on lampwick's and ripresa's comments........I have a solo number in our class recital on June 15. From June 7 - 12, I will be in Washington DC watching Proteges II and Ballet Across America, sightseeing, museum hopping, shopping, and taking evening classes at Washington School of Ballet. I fly back home on June 12, and the next day, I have Ballet II class. On June 14, we have the dress rehearsal, and the next day is D-Day (dance day :thumbsup: ).


I am excited that I will be alternately watching and dancing before my recital. It will prime me for my first stage experience.

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Often our self-criticisms and doubts are derived from comparing ourselves with others. It is human nature to do so, but in my opinion it’s harmful. No matter how good you are at something, there is someone else better.


Because we inherently engage in comparisons, it takes real work to avoid doing so. The only way that seems to work for me is just to persist. With time you adapt and then you can go about the business of improving yourself, a process without end no matter how good you get.

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