Wednesday, July 24, 2013

DANCERS, SELF ESTEEM AND BODY IMAGE

Attention... You Are Hot!


This is your self esteem call-to-arms: step away from your computer, and take a look in the mirror: you are smokin’ hot.



 In the act of performing onstage, dancers leave themselves vulnerable and  open to critique of their performances, their music, costume choices, and of course, their physical beings.  While audiences and other performers usually praise, there are those who can be harsh, but it’s your own inner critic that is most brutal.


 For decades, through advertising and in the media, women in general have been held to an ever-changing, ridiculously  unattainable standard of beauty that is just about impossible to achieve.

 It’s pretty twisted- the genetic wonders on display as the penultimate of feminine beauty are also primped, preened and fixed up by a legion of experts, lit and shot by pro photographers at the top of their  field, and photo-shopped within an inch of their life.

 Because of this, we all have been made to feel that we are lacking somehow… and dancers have these feelings perhaps more than any civilian woman ever could!

 We’re too fat, too thin, too old, not old enough, too dark-skinned or so white we  practically glow in the dark!

  1991: I thought I was fat and that my face was "too round'! 
Our faces are too haggy, too jowly, and too wrinkled. There’s way too much baby fat on our cheeks or not enough. Our eyes are the wrong color and shape, our noses are hooked or too short and stubby, our lips aren’t plump enough.

We have  no chin,  our necks are too short or too long,  there’s cellulite on thighs- plus our legs are too short, too thick, too hairy or knobby-kneed.  Our bellies are much  too round, too protruding and, along with our hips (which, of course are too wide) are covered in stretch marks.  Our butts are   too flat, too round , non-existent or too shelf-like. Our boobs are too big, too small, and too saggy.  Or our boob jobs didn’t turn out right!  Our thighs and upper arms are flabby, our knees are scarred, the knuckles on our fingers are too big, and our hair is the wrong color or texture.

Crazy?  You bet!

Shall I go on? I thought not.

 I don’t need to tell you that condemning yourself is neurotic, unproductive and harmful.  You already know it.  I already know it, but I do it sometimes too!  We all do. Don’t drink the Kool Aid.

 Stop it!!!

  Dancing is what makes you happy, it makes you whole, and helps you feel lovely. It’s a passion and a blessing- it’s not to be taken lightly. Some women don’t have the luxury of dance because they live in oppressive societies, or because they are infirm: gravely ill, crippled or maimed in some way, physically or emotionally damaged beyond repair.

In the many classes I teach all over the world, along with experiencing the sisterhood of dancing, I often see and hear women slighting  their abilities and disparaging their bodies.  This hurts my feelings, seeing so many people truly feel that they are lacking or not worthy.  You  are clumsy, you have two left feet, it takes you too long to learn choreographies or you can't improvise. You feel stupid and ugly.
A few months ago...before I turned 54.  I finally like how I look!

It's rare to  hear  dancers  talking about how talented they are,what a great performance they had, or  to simply mention that dancing is a  gorgeous gift that has been bestowed upon them.  

We need to change our internal conversations! 

Time marches on relentlessly,  and  though you will probably become a better dancer in the future, you’re probably never going be any hotter than you are now, right at this moment. If you don’t believe me, look at some old photos of yourself- from fifteen years ago- or from last week- any time you thought you were fat and ugly.

What the hell were you thinking…you probably could’ve ruled the world!

Give yourself some credit, cut yourself some slack, and help other women to see themselves as wonderful too. Respect your vessel- the whole, healthy body you have which makes such lovely shapes and patterns to music. You are living art!

 You are beautiful. You are.

 And yeah…you better believe it…

You are hot!   




21 comments:

  1. "You are hot!"

    Right back at you, you gorgeous woman! Thanks for this :)

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  2. Wish I could say the boys are immune to this but my mirror tells a different story. Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, so I've heard!!! : ( But you are hot even without tossing around big poles of fire, Eric!!! <3

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  3. Thank you...I needed to read this today. You are awesome!

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  4. Thanks, I really needed to hear that today!

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  5. 54? Is your bath tub plumbed into the fountain of youth or something? I guess nothing looks as beautiful as being happy in your own skin.

    Good words, and something I and a lot of other dancers need reminding of occasionally.

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    1. Thanks doll!

      Must be that painting in my attic...LOL

      yeah, it's all about being happy in your own skin, i think! <3

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  6. As always great posts lovely! We need to feel beautiful on stage and step back and just be happy with ourselves.

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  7. Wow! How timely for so many of us! I'm trying so hard to work on this. I think I just let too much in my life get away from me. I felt so much better when I was in classes regularly. I need to take back control of things to feel better. Thank you for the words of encouragement! Funny how a general posting can feel so directed :) ~Mariana

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  8. Yeah, Mariana, i guess this post kinda resounded with lots of dancers today!!!!

    Thanks for writing!! : )

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  9. Love this! I've been my own worst critic. Whenever I've been paid a compliment, I'd always say "thank you but.....", searching for all my negative points instead of focusing on the positives. It's taken a while to realise that all these people can't be lying! I'm learning not to be so hard on myself and this dance is certainly helping me to do that!

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    1. Totally!!!!

      A bunch of strangers feeding you lines, just to delude you! LOL!!! I used to feel that way too : )

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  10. In pics from 15 years ago I was wearing high waisted jeans and had a version of the Rachel haircut, so yeah by comparison, I'm totally hot now. And 54? I want to look like you in my 50s!

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  11. Thank you Princess,
    This is wonderful thank you for sharing.

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