Gaining Perspective in the Artistic Struggle

 In Advice, Dance

Photography by Chad Kirkland.

All dancers face struggles in their artistic journeys: technical hurdles, casting disappointments, career setbacks, frustration over a lack of professional opportunities in their region etc.

Here are some thoughts to remember when your path gets challenging…


“There is nothing shameful about showing up and being vulnerable and falling on your face. Shame is in closing yourself up and trying to be perfect when all you can ever be is you.”

Alessa Rogers, dancer with Ballet du Rhin in France, former Atlanta Ballet company member, Dance Magazine


“It’s more important to be better than you were yesterday than to be better than anyone else.”

Madison Warnick, SALT II member, Dance Spirit


“Knowing that you’re not defined by any one performance frees you to be the artist you want to be, and people who are able to do that are the most effective performers.”

Jennifer Ringer, former New York City Ballet principal, current director of the Colburn Dance Academy, Pointe Magazine


“As humans, we’re often creatures of habit and resist change, but I’ve come to realize that change is the only constant in life.

Accepting this fact and learning to move forward has been an ongoing task, and I find that I deal with this challenge most successfully by choosing to adapt and learn from each experience.”

Cara Marie Gary, Joffrey Ballet company member, 4dancers


“Perhaps my biggest epiphany is this: I’ve realized that being hard on myself after a rehearsal or performance does not make me dance any better the next day. Nor does it change how things went. It just makes me feel bad—and who wants to feel bad?”

Abi Stafford, New York City Ballet principal, Dance Magazine


“It’s healthy to feel sad, frustrated, and defeated, and I believe it’s important to let yourself feel these emotions. Dancers are, after all, human beings!

But when you’ve finished having a good cry, or two–or three–remember that all the great leaders and innovators in history had many failures from which to learn from. Think of the “No’s” as road signs pointing you in the direction of ‘Yes.’”

Sharon Wehner, Colorado Ballet principal, 4dancers


Are you reading this this because you’re discouraged and looking for answers?

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