Dancer Voices
It's unsettling to feel unsure if you're allowed to call yourself a dancer. Photo by Taylor Ann Wright/Unsplash

Every dancer knows deep in their heart that dance is only a temporary profession, yet we devote our lives to it anyway. We feel called to it.

I never felt like I had a choice; I could not imagine doing anything else with my life. I started training at 3, and became immediately obsessed, grand jeté-ing down grocery store aisles forevermore. I described myself as a dancer before even thinking of myself as female, bisexual, American, feminist or teacher.

The phrase "I am a dancer," is such a source of masochistic pride that I am not sure it reads to people outside the performing arts community, but it is often the only way we can see ourselves.

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Health & Body

Even the most veteran of performers can suffer from nerves before hitting the stage. While most of us feel most at home in front of a crowd once we're there, sometimes the wait to go on can be uneasy.

Breathing with intention is a simple way to calm this stage fright. According to Psychology Today, deep breathing, specifically through the diaphragm, can activate the vagus nerve, and trigger the "relaxation response" of your parasympathetic nervous system and lessen anger, anxiety, stress and even inflammation.

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Health & Body
Photo by Matthew Murphy for Pointe

In technique classes, dancers are often told to work from a neutral spine and pelvis. The concept should be simple enough for a somatically-conscious person like a dancer, but it can end up being a confusing challenge.

Because, really, what is neutral?

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