Advice for Dancers
Photo by Ahmad Odeh/Unsplash

I'm terrified of performing choreography that changes directions. I messed up last year when the stage lights caused me to become disoriented. What can I do to prevent this from happening again? I can perform the combination just fine in the studio with the mirror.

—Scared, San Francisco, CA

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Advice for Dancers
When you spend most of your day at the theater, it's challenging to find time to date. Photo by rawpixel/Unsplash.

My personal life has taken a nosedive since I broke up with my boyfriend. He's in the same show and is now dating one of my colleagues. It's heartbreaking to see them together, and I'm determined never to date a fellow dancer again. But it's challenging to find someone outside, as I practically live in the theater. Do you have any advice?

—Loveless, New York, NY

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Advice for Dancers

After living on junk food during a long break, I finally set up a plan for healthy eating and aerobic exercise. I was feeling positive as I approached my target weight, but then I hit a hectic period of rehearsals and stopped losing. Now what?

—Jordan, Stamford, CT

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Advice for Dancers
Many dancers have successful careers without being active on social media. Getty Images.

It goes against my core values to promote myself on Instagram, since the quality of my dancing matters more to me than tricks. Yet some of my favorite companies hire dancers with large followings on their IG accounts. Should I bother to audition at these places? I have strong technique, but I'm not Gumby.

—Instagram Resistant, Boston, MA

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Advice for Dancers
Picking the most accomplished dancers to measure yourself against is a surefire way to lower your confidence. Getty Images.

Company class triggers my biggest doubts when I compare myself to leading dancers with fantastic feet or extensions. Why can't I be more like them? I work just as hard, but I can't seem to do it.

—Katy, San Francisco, CA

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Advice for Dancers
There are only a few featured roles in any ballet with many dancers hoping for a chance to perform them. Stock Snap.

This year I expected to be cast in a solo role in Nutcracker after adding private lessons and Pilates to my schedule. Yet I only landed a demi-solo part. How should I deal with this setback?

—Wannabe Sugar Plum, Bethpage, NY

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Advice for Dancers
Getty Images

I'm really upset with myself for bingeing. I'm good with my diet for a few days, but then I give in and stuff myself with pizza and ice cream and am filled with self-hate.

—Binge Eater, White Plains, NY

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Advice for Dancers
Wearing heavy stage makeup can take a toll on your skin. Photo by rawpixel/Unsplash

Does stage makeup cause acne? I've had breakouts throughout my teens and 20s, but they get worse during performances. What can I do?

—Faceful of Pimples, Las Vegas, NV

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Advice for Dancers
Directors tend to pick dancers who fit the company's style, body type and need for a particular height. Photo by Jim Lafferty for Pointe

Are auditions rigged? Sometimes I see mediocre dancers make it into a company, and I just don't get it. The audition process is unnerving for me without feedback or any understanding of the rules.

—Madison, Santa Monica, CA

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Advice for Dancers
After dedicating your life to dance for so many years, it's unrealistic to expect that you'll fall for a new vocation right away. Photo by Ralph Daily/Wikimedia Commons

Why is it so hard to find another passion like dance for my next career? I've tried to prepare by taking vocational tests at Career Transition For Dancers and online college courses. But I keep hitting a dead end.

—Life After Dance?, Los Angeles, CA

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Advice for Dancers
If your parents are overly supportive of you pursuing dance, it may become difficult to gauge your own interest. Getty Images

I don't understand why I've lost my motivation to dance at 20 years old. My parents have always encouraged me to have a life plan and ask continuously how my pre-professional training program is going. I feel crushed by their expectations. I'm actually relieved when I get injured and can't dance, even though I miss it.

—Confused, Nashville, TN

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Advice for Dancers
Stretching for 30-second intervals throughout the day is an effective way to improve flexibility. Getty Images

It's been three months since I pulled my hamstring while working extra hard on my flexibility in hot yoga. I've done physical therapy every week. But even though it's now healed, I feel pain as soon as I try to dance. Why can't I get over this?

—Meghan, New York, NY

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Advice for Dancers
Remember, a successful dance career is a result of your hard work. Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris/Unsplash

I've never been happier! I have a steady dance gig, a boyfriend and a nice apartment. The only problem is I'm terrified of losing everything. Is this normal?

—Chris, Queens, NY

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Advice for Dancers
Stepping back when you're injured doesn't mean you've failed as a dancer. Stocksnap

I feel like a failure because I canceled a big competition after getting injured. I'd hoped that ending up in the finals might get me a position in a company. Now what?

—Devon, Washington, DC

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Advice for Dancers
While it's smart for a director to recognize your strengths, developing other aspects of your artistry can help you be considered for a greater variety of roles. Thinkstock

I always dreamed of being a lead dancer. But since reaching my goal, I feel stuck performing the same bravura roles year after year. I want to do more expressive parts, too. How can I expand my range?

—Typecast, San Francisco, CA

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Advice for Dancers
Resistance training that strengthens your quads can help improve your jumps. Thinkstock

Why can't I jump as high as my male partner? We both have to perform the same series of jetés in a workshop performance and practicing isn't helping. I'm starting to panic.

—Amy, Cincinnati, OH

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Advice for Dancers
People with high arches often have a shallower plié due to the structure of their feet. Photo by Bruno Horwath/Unsplash

While I'm lucky to have a high arch, my demi-plié stinks. I keep getting the same correction to make it deeper. Any ideas?

—Foot Challenged, Winston-Salem, NC

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Advice for Dancers
Too much betacarotene can lead to a yellow-orange pigmentation on your skin. Photo by Stock Snap

My doctor sent me to a hormone specialist to be checked out for a possible metabolic disorder after a series of unexplained fractures. When my blood tests came back, I wasn't prepared to hear that the problem was due to my super-healthy diet (I eat a lot of raw carrots). Once she saw that the bottoms of my feet are orange-colored, she said, "That's the problem!" How can that be?

—Carrot Withdrawal, San Diego, CA

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Advice for Dancers
Sprained ankles that won't heal often indicate a misdiagnosed or overlooked underlying problem. Thinkstock

It's been a year since I sprained my ankle and it continues to hurt, even with physical therapy. I've had to skip class, and I worry that my injury could ruin any chance of landing a job when I start auditioning. It hurts the most when I do grand pliés. Is there something wrong with me?

—Lame Broadway Dancer, New York, NY

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Advice for Dancers
Perfectionism can make dancing a burden rather than a joy. Thinkstock

I had a two-month injury and thought it would make me miserable. Instead, I'm experiencing a huge wave of relief at being out. Should I feel guilty about not missing dance? I still love it but hate never feeling good enough.

—Injured Perfectionist, Fort Lauderdale, FL

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Advice for Dancers
It's common for therapists to advise patients with eating disorders to distance themselves from people with similar struggles. Photo by Unsplash.

My best friend confessed that she's been avoiding me because of my eating disorder. She's scared of triggering her own eating issues that she's coming to grips with in psychotherapy. I feel horrible about getting so caught up in my problems that I didn't see what it was doing to her. While I'm glad we spoke about it (and I've made an appointment to get professional help, too), the awkwardness hasn't completely disappeared.

—Katherine, Boston, MA

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