Criticism in the Dance World

Everyone is a critic!

One thing you can count on in the dance world is that you will face a lot of criticism. Criticism can be tough on a dancer. A thick skin will help a dancer get by, but here are a few things to think about when dealing with criticism.

Take time to celebrate achievements!

You finally achieved a perfect single wing on your left and your teacher was working with another dancer. Or, your teacher sees you and tells you to work on switch wings rather than praising your accomplishment. It can be frustrating, but take time to be proud of yourself. As Mikhail Baryshnikov said, "I do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to dance better than myself." Take corrections, apply yourself, and pat yourself on the back when you improve.

Use corrections to grow as a dancer!

Dancers are made, not born (Baryshnikov). Dancers should be continually learning and growing.  In order to improve, a dancer needs feedback. Some instructors can be harsh with their critiques. Dancers cannot be super-sensitive. Listen and apply. You will only get discouraged if you take criticism personally. Stay positive, focus on improving. Most of the time instructors are tough because they want the best for their students. That's not to say there aren't terrible instructors out there. There is a definite difference between being hard on a dancer and being cruel.

Who is the criticism coming from?

Think about the source of the criticism. Is it from a person who knows what they are critiquing? Is it a peer? Is it simply someone who has an opinion? Be sure to consider the source before you take it to heart.

Turn self-judgement into self-praise!

Dancers can most often be their own worst critics. Stop! Choose to motivate yourself. Keep learning. Keep growing. Keep moving forward. Take time to smile at yourself!

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