Desire is such an important ingredient for a young dancer’s success. The desire to always be improving and the desire to achieve your goals can fuel a dancer to be the best they can be. But desire is also one of those things that can be a double-edged sword.

The desire for perfection can push a dancer to work hard in every class. It can help a dancer execute moves they never thought they could. And it can be the reason a dancer continues to progress and grow. The desire for perfection, however, can also cause a dancer to be frustrated with the speed of their progression. It can be the reason they judge themselves harshly or give themselves unrealistic expectations. And it can be the reason a dancer stops having fun and looses the joy in dancing.

I have fallen victim to this trap myself. Despite learning and improving, there were times when I was never satisfied with where I was at. In these moments I felt frustrated and disappointed in myself. The negative feelings from my intense desire to be better were actually holding me back from improving. It wasn’t until I took a step back and watched an older video that I could say, “Wow, I looked great!”. I saw that I was so wrapped up in where I wanted to go that I didn’t appreciate how far I had come. And I know that I am not alone in feeling this way.

I encourage every dancer, no matter what age or at what stage in their dance career, to decide (like I had to do) to keep reaching for the stars, but also to celebrate all the little successes along the way.

The desire that dancers feel to want to be the best that they can be builds
great work ethics, dedication, discipline, and perseverance. These skills go beyond dancing and are awesome qualities that will serve all dancers well in their lives outside of dance. But it has to be matched with the freedom to make mistakes, the moments to pat yourself on the back, and the ability to let go and have fun!

Submitted by Sarah Dowling

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