As dancers and performers, we train and push our bodily limits to be just that. We work hard, attend classes and spend our spare time practicing, trying to be the best we can be. Often we are working towards a performance of some kind, a performance everyone looks forward to, a performance to showcase your talent, a talent that you have worked so hard to achieve. So what happens if one single performance doesn’t go as planned? Does that one performance define you as a dancer? Do you think that every single performances success is vital for your future in the arts? I, along with every other teacher and mentor will tell you, that mistakes happen and as horrible as it is to make that mistake during something you’ve worked so hard on, it does not set you up for failure.
I was recently asked to share an experience where I made such mistakes. I was 16 years old and I was at competition with my Lyrical group in British Columbia. This was a routine I loved, practiced and felt really connected to, I was so happy that we finally got to compete and as a group we felt very ready to go out and show everyone how hard we had been working. Half way through the routine I misplaced my left foot in the landing of a jump, I felt instant pain and fell to the ground. Not wanting to let me team down, more than I felt I had already, I got up and continued on with the routine. Perhaps I should of found a way to exit the stage because for the remainder of the routine I was 2 counts behind everyone else, my foot was to sore to complete turns and safe landings but I felt I had to try my best to finish the routine with my team.
I felt sure that we wouldn’t receive a result we had worked so hard to get and I blamed myself for that. It turns out I had broken my toe on the landing of that jump and I felt so guilty for that. I let down my group, my teachers, my studio, or so I thought. They were all very quick to correct me and we ended up receiving a high silver medal, which we were all very grateful for.
As a result of this insistent, I learned that it is okay to make a mistake. We can only do the best we can do and one small mistake on stage will not define your future, if anything, it will make you grow as a dancer and help shape you into person you want to become, whether that’s a performer, instructor or something else entirely. Remember, it is okay to make mistakes and it is normal to feel like it’s the end of the world but it is not, so be quick to forgive those mistakes because your team, instructors and everyone else supporting you will not hold them against you, they will remind you of all the good you bring and grow with you.
Submitted by Brogan Weber