Dance teaches us something about finding the physical, mental and emotional balance of pushing yourself vs. listening to yourself. In dance, your body is your tool. In order to grow, you often have to push your body right up to the limit of injury, without going over. When we are doing something like stretching, we have to help dancers understand the difference between “uncomfortable” and “painful.”
When we are doing cardio to improve endurance, we have to teach dancers how to find their breath and keep going without passing out. We find ourselves equally saying “push yourself” as well as “listen to your body,” and have to start helping dancers identify (very early on) when it is acceptable to sit down and rest because your body or brain needs a break vs. when sitting down is giving up on yourself or being lazy.
We continue to struggle with this concept as adults, and I see and hear others talk about it all the time. We often push ourselves to the point of being physically sick or mentally drained, and then have to step back and recognize our limitations. It is a hard challenge to learn to recalibrate and find that balance before we wear ourselves too thin again. In the smallest way, I hope that the lessons our dancers are learning in the classroom are helping them to find this balance early in life, so that they can be well-adjusted, productive, balanced adults.
Interested in joining us? Summer classes start June 18th!