Teachers have the power to heal and also to tear down.
This is especially true in the dance community where we are judged almost completely by our outer appearance.
Through the years, I’ve observed that many professional dance teachers struggle with ego and insecurity issues. In class, they project this energy onto their students by praising the dancers who boost their ego and putting down the dancers who they find talented, but threatening. I know this behavior is fueled by jealousy, personal bias, and insecurity about their own talent.
As a professional dancer, I am familiar with the dancers’ ego, especially after moving to NY, but the experience I had in a recent master class was unlike any other experience I’ve faced before.
I followed my usual routine of warming up and stretching before I joined the class. I did this outside of the room as there was more space but I could also sense the energy of the room felt off.
The majority of this group was non-dancers who all appeared extremely nervous and fearful to move or even speak. Everyone sat quietly on the floor in small clusters observing each other and making small talk.
I re-entered the room when it was time to start dancing. As a side note, it has taken me many years to conquer my own fears and insecurities as a dancer. I remember how I used to be the quiet dancer hiding in the back of the room secretly hoping not to be noticed. Now, as a 28 year old dancer, I have come a long way in my confidence. I stepped to the front of the room, not because I felt I was better than anyone, but because I knew this was a masters class in a style that I loved and felt confident in. I wanted to soak up every moment.
However, as soon as I took my place, the instructor boldly asked me to step to the back of the class because of my height. As a professional dancer I knew that this was not the correct protocol. It is the dancers’ responsibility to place themselves in windows so that everyone can see the instructor and be seen. Furthermore, it’s custom for more experienced dancers to stand in the front so that the class can remain in sync.
As the class continued, it became more clear that the instructor, a petite blonde woman, had some personal dislike towards me. I knew that it had to be something about my physical presence as we barely had any conversation upon meeting.
I knew it didn’t feel right, but I went to the back of the class and focused all of my attention on creating positive energy through my dancing. Later on, it was time to learn information from the manual. A few times I tried to engage and ask questions about the content, but the instructor was dismissive towards me and seemed anxious to call on other students.
I observed her as she continued to focus her attention on the two male trainers in the room. She made a point of giving them positive feedback, asking questions, and clearly answering all of their questions. At one point, I asked her to repeat a piece of information for clarification. Instead of answering my question, she directed me to ask one of the male participants who she enjoyed speaking to during class.
In general, I am someone who strives to focus on the positive, especially when it comes to my passion of dance. I tried my best not to have an emotional reaction or jump to conclusions about why I was being treated this way. But the truth is, the situation did bother me and made me think more about the issue of dance teachers and ego trips. This is not the first time I have experienced or witnessed a dance teacher intentionally using their position to put down another dancer…how can someone who calls themselves a professional have such a problem with another person who they don’t even know?
I would call this a mild experience because I know that there are many dancers in the field who have experienced even worse treatment because of their appearance-size, color, shape, dance level, or physical ability. Dance is meant to be a form of expression and emotional release, but there will always be those who are stuck in their own ego, personal bias, and superficiality.
The dance scene is a tough business. In many ways, I appreciate that because it has helped me to build a thick skin when it comes to being bold and confident while being publicly observed and judged. At the same time though, I don’t believe in putting others down to feel better about yourself or for any other reason. Because of this, I’m conscious of who I invest my energy in. I refuse to waste time and money in a dance class or community that doesn’t value the basic principle of treating all humans with respect and dignity when I know that there are plenty of welcoming spaces where I can learn in a positive, inclusive atmosphere.
The way to survive in this field is to find like minded creatives who support you and your vision…that is your tribe. Anyone who doesn’t appreciate you for who you are, does not deserve your time, energy, or talent.
Prioritizing Spirit in a Physical World
Everyday I see how difficult it is to prioritize the Spiritual in a world that glorifies the physical world. Society conditions us to believe that our pursuit of happiness revolves around the physical journey; chasing money, relationships, and higher status.
My truest desire is to live a life of true love, peace, and happiness, a pure inner state that is not dependent on anything external.
Many times on my journey, I’ve made the decision to be spiritually led, but I feel like it’s still so easy to drift away. When I’m working too hard, I become distracted by my own emotions, wants and needs for survival.
I worry about how things will come together if I don’t take more control….
I fall into the trap of trying to fulfill my dreams and happiness through external things like money, relationships, and social recognition.
The hardest part of my journey is not compromising my vision for the sake of making money. As a dancer, it’s easy to be led astray by all the gimmicks and illusions of the commercial world.
According to the societal norm, If I want to be a professional performer (the kind that has thousands of instagrams followers) I should change my appearance and style to be the sexy “bad bitch” that sells.
I’ve tried doing what I thought it takes to get into that world… I am always disappointed. It only brings me closer to becoming someone else and further from myself.
I’m at the point where I’m so exhausted, I’ve been through so much to get where I am and I no longer have time to waste on identity crisis.
Chasing dreams from the outside in has been fruitless and unfulfilling…none of my physical accomplishments have had long term success,not in relationships, jobs, or my dance career.
On this physical journey, My recurring theme has been return to Spirit… I don’t want to keep falling for the illusions and traps that leave me constantly striving for things that will never fulfill me.
I just want to be MY Highest Creative Self.
I just want to live my passion on this Earth and make a positive impact while I’m here.
I know it’s not the path of highest popularity, but in my soul I know that fulfilling my inner purpose is the only path that brings lasting happiness.
seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Exploring What it means to be an…
Woman, teacher, creator, performer, student striving and in search of Peace, Love, and Happiness.
Adapting to stress and demands of work and society. Feeling the pressure to always be ON….
finding time to just be alone and process, without feeling guilty
I need time alone to balance out all the energy I’m surrounded by each day..Some days feel like people are sucking the life out of me But as a person, especially as a Teacher, I must make a conscious effort not to project my frustrations onto other people.
If I am feeling drained, that means I need to spend more time taking care of my myself, feeding my own soul so that I have more than enough to share each day.
Affirm: I can maintain my energy. I do not have to give people power over my emotions.
Sometimes I get stuck in my head…
Sometimes I’m anxious, frustrated, irritable. Sometimes my moods can change so fast…
I’m learning to practice patience, and non-judgment with myself
Movement and Music are healing for my mind, body, and soul. They help me to be present and intentional so I can enjoy the moment.
Affirm: The more I accept all the parts of my personality, the More I can love myself.
Understanding my past and Healing from toxic relationships, emotional abuse
Unlearning ingrained patterns in my mind and soul: non-expression, depression and isolation
fears that keep me silent and shut down, overcoming shame and guilt, learning to let go of the past, mistakes, and negative energy.
Affirm: I am not a victim, I am a victor.
Deciding to try again with an open minded attitude. Learning to be positive, and accepting but still maintain my standards.
I want to let go of the fearful attitude that keeps me from getting to know people and letting people know me on a deeper level. I want to be more transparent about who I am.
Let go of Making Assumptions… Don’t assume that people are out to judge you or hurt you. There are people who just want to love you and support you for who you are.
Affirm: I am open to give and receive unconditional love.
Is still hard and still scary, but can’t be avoided if you want to experience life to the fullest.
I’m learning to embrace things that make me uncomfortable…It does get easier with communication and self love.
It is ok to be emotional. There are positive ways to express emotions… As I learn to be more comfortable in my skin, I can express myself in more ways and on deeper levels.
I know that people see me in many different ways. Maybe I can’t ignore the thoughts of perception,but I can make them positive and loving instead of fearful and negative.
Affirm: I cannot control what others think of me. I can only control my own thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
Psychology Today-Explanation of Introverts
Yes, it is Attainable for me!
It’s Time to stop watching other people and dreaming about how you can have what they have. The only thing that separates you from them is your Mindset. You’ve let life tell you that it can’t happen for you. It’s too hard, your circumstances are too rough, it’s too late…They’re all LIES and excuses. Sometimes we start to believe the lies because we get tired of being disappointed, we get tired of trying and things not working out the way we want it to.
So meanwhile, You trudge through your daily life being careful, afraid to commit and go after what you really want…It’s so unknown that it’s scary. But being afraid keeps you in a trap. It stifles your creativity and silences your voice. For me, it gets so bad that I can’t sleep. I have dreams of performing, flying, being free.
In your dreams, you are everything you want to be…and then there’s reality. I struggle with the balance. The reality is my life is not exactly what I want it to be, but there are some things I cannot change, not yet.
When I look at the physical reality, I know how hard it is to create something from nothing. BUT I have to keep believing that it is just as Possible for me as it is for anyone else.
Life is full of challenges, and it’s true that some people have more challenges than others BUT you cannot use your challenges as a crutch. When you do, you automatically disqualify yourself from reaching your truest destiny.
So, Stop blaming society, your past, your race, and your upbringing. Believe that you have the POWER to create the lifestyle that you want for yourself.
Keep an open mind, let go of the past, and believe in God’s plan.
AFFIRM “I will accomplish everything I dream of, though I can’t see when or how.”
Yes, I am rich, I am abundant, I am Successful, I am in Control of my Life!
Let’s not even get into feelings.
I work for a living, I’m like a machine through the week.
There’s no time for feelings about anything.
It’s tiring, but don’t complain
It’s a sacrifice that comes with making something from nothing.
And doing it alone,
Don’t bother looking for comfort anywhere outside of yourself.
My friends exist but mainly acquaintances.
I watch people take vacations and enjoy their summer freedom,
Reminding myself not to be bitter because my time is coming.
I’m working like this so that in the next 3years, I won’t have to.
My time will come. I keep taking steps toward the vision I see for myself,
Only I can see it and I know I will reach it.
Stay persistent and keep aligning your energy with your true desires.
Believe in Faith and the Power of Manifestation.
I think my Biggest fear is that if I finally find the courage to face my fears and open up to someone, that I will be judged and rejected.
You can’t trust your emotions to everyone,
And I know I shouldn’t put myself in vulnerable situations with people I can’t trust, but it happened.
Right now, everything is becoming slippery. Needing support but acting like everything is cool…
Drinking through my Insecurities again, Now trying to face the mess I made.
I don’t do casual because I’m not casual, now when my emotions are involved.
I keep saying It’s because of stress…but when will I not be stressed?
I know this will pass, like every emotional crisis, I’ll survive it.
But what Happens next? Do I cut my losses or try to communicate…
wait it out.