How to love your body as a dancer
Loving your body is simple...but not always easy, especially for dancers who make their living as a body expressing art. But it can and MUST be done and here's how...
As a dancer, it's more often than not that all eyes are on you-scrutinising every little detail of your body; the line of your arabesque leg, the curve of your back, the placement of your arms, the way your head tilts, your turnout...plus the obvious one...your size and how much you weigh.
It can feel as if you've done something wrong just by being part of these 'too close for comfort' stares and yet what you often fail to remember is, you are absolutely wonderful, just as you are.
It is not uncommon then that many dancers (just like the plastics in Mean Girls) learn to scrutinise their own bodies, day in and day out.
This pattern of learning to pick fault with what you see in the mirror can become second nature very quickly and also, a bit of an addiction.
On the surface, many dancers show off their bodies in tight, skimpy costumes regularly, wearing a smile so big it lights up the whole room and a confidence that seems to radiate out of them like shooting stars across the night sky.
But underneath...it can be a very different story. Many dancers struggle with their body image and can 100% believe that they are something that they are most definitely not...not good enough as they are.
This is where we bring in the big guns...self care and self love.
As it was previously mentioned, loving your body is simple but not always easy, which is why self care and self love are going to be your daily go-to's forever more to make this process become a little easier as each day passes.
Just like anything, it takes practice, persistence and even more practice.
It's not set in stone what self care and self love look like, because it's different for everyone. But here are a few suggestions we find useful that you might like to try.
1. Move your body- now being a dancer, this one is going to be easy for you! But...it's the mindset behind the movement that counts. When you exercise, think about WHY you are doing it and how you FEEL. When we move from a place of love and joy, the exercise becomes fun. But when we move from a place of wanting to punish our bodies or lose a certain number of calories because we need to drop a dress size, the exercise becomes a chore and we feel bad. So check in before you move.
2. Affirmations- as we said, there are no set ways to do anything. If you want to put positive affirmations on post it notes around your room, go for it. If you want to listen to an affirmation audiobook whilst in the bath, do that. Or if you just want to give yourself regular pep talks, that's great too. Do what feels good for you.
3. Gratitude- this one is great for anything and everything-seriously. Practice focusing on all the positive things about your body-what do you love? If your immediate response is 'nothing' or something similar, then I'm afraid you're not off the hook just yet! If you find this one difficult to get started, start with the basics-your sight, your hearing, your sense of smell and touch...then work your way up through your body, listing everything you are grateful for. What about how your body allows you to do what you love...dance?
These are just a few tips to help you get started, but as we said-it's an ongoing practice, just like dancing. This requires you to show up every, single day for yourself, but the rewards of being diligent and persistent...love!