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Some Notes on Personal Growth

By Emmie

For the past 14 weeks, I have been dancing Monday through Friday 9 am until 3 pm every day. I have danced in programs with similar schedules but it was for only 9 weeks at a maximum. I remember having feelings of apprehension as I entered this year because I have never danced for this long of a time. But as I enter my 14th week and the final week before 2 weeks off for the holidays I have proved my apprehensive thoughts from August wrong.

Dancing this much it was expected that I would see my technique improve but it took me a long time to actually see my growth. I think my slow discovery of growth is attributed to my now-established routine and my inner critic. I think routine can sometimes hinder my ability to see my growth because routine implies consistency making me feel like my dance technique is just as consistent as my schedule which is not in fact true. The epiphany of my growth as a dancer occurred during my first performance because it was a break in my routine, an opportunity to do something different than just ballet class and rehearsal. Being able to see my growth brought me lots of joy because it in a sense validated the work I was doing making me proud of the work I had already done but also motivating me for the future.

The feeling of pride also helped curb the self-critical thoughts that also stood in the way of my awareness of my growth. In ballet, there is an expectation that you are constantly self-correcting yourself in the mirror. This creates a very fine line between self-correction and self-criticism. I find at times I cross this line into self-criticism like focusing on the fact I fell out of my double en dedans pirouette on pointe rather that the fact that this time last year I wouldn’t even think that I could do a double en dedans pirouette on pointe. It is a perfect example of how my inner critic prevented my realization of growth but as I reflect on the last 14 weeks I don’t feel critical but instead fulfilled by what I have achieved and excited about what is to come.