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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Advice for Dancers
Nowadays, landing a trainee contract is a usual step toward a full company contract. Photo by Kyle Broad/Unsplash

I feel like a loser after auditioning for a ballet company. Instead of a job, I landed a position in their trainee program. I refused it and switched to a school with a Limón curriculum, which doesn't do it for me. Now what?

—Failure, New York, NY

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Advice for Dancers
Numerous ballet dancers have completed their degrees while performing professionally. Photo by MD Duran/Unsplash.

My parents are worried that dancing professionally will interfere with my education, even though I have friends who dance and take college courses. I can't go to a university the usual way when I'm trying to make it in contemporary ballet. Can you help me explain my situation to them?

—Lauren, Miami, FL

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Advice for Dancers
When recovering from injury, walking too much in a boot may result in a bone bruise. Photo by Jeffrey Wegrzyn on Unsplash.

How could I get a bone bruise from wearing a boot for a stress fracture in my fifth metatarsal? It's taking forever to go away, and I can't dance full-out. Help!

—Anonymous, New York, NY

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Advice for Dancers
Can you find harmony when your romantic partner is also your dance partner? Thinkstock.

I found a great boyfriend in my ballet company. I love how he understands my life as a professional dancer. The problem is we've started fighting whenever one of us gives the other a correction during partnering. Is dating him a bad idea?

—Lovesick, Toronto, Ontario

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Advice for Dancers
Allergies got you down? Allergy sufferers are twice as likely to be depressed as those who are allergy-free. Thinkstock.

I'm typically an upbeat person until my allergies kick in during the spring. Then I feel really down. What can I do to keep this from happening? An allergic reaction shouldn't affect my ability to enjoy dancing, should it?

—Katie, Princeton, NJ

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Advice for Dancers
It's important for the dance community to speak out about workplace harassment and inappropriate behavior. Thinkstock.

I'm feeling very torn about the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. Everyone from a company director to teachers and dancers are being accused of sexual harassment and leaving their jobs in disgrace. What happened to the idea of being presumed innocent until proven guilty?

—Conflicted, New York, NY

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Advice for Dancers
Losing a dance company can be like losing part of your family. Photo by Thinkstock.

My life is in complete chaos since my dance company disbanded. I have a day job, so money isn't the issue. It's the loss of my world that stings the most. What can I do?

—Lost Career, Washington, DC

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Advice for Dancers
Thinkstock

My director informed me that this spring will be my last season because of my age. I'm only in my mid-30s! I'm getting great reviews, so what gives? Can't they wait until a ballet dancer's technique starts to fail?

—Retiring Too Soon, Midwest, USA

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Advice for Dancers
A strong work ethic doesn't entail running yourself into the ground. Photo Courtesy Thinkstock.

After reading your column I now understand the problems of being a workaholic. My dilemma is that the dance teachers in my BFA program praise an extreme work ethic and use me as a role model for other dancers. How can I give my body a break?

—Burned-Out Dancer, New York, NY

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Advice for Dancers
Only you can truly decide if you're ready to start your career. Photo by Thinkstock.

My dance coach wants my word that I'll keep competing under his school's name for the next year and not audition. I'm 18 years old and already doing lead roles and winning medals. I love his teaching, but shouldn't I be ready to go out and get a job?

—Gil, Las Vegas, NV

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Advice for Dancers
Are screaming dance teachers killing your confidence? PC Thinkstock.

I'm tired of being screamed at by the Russian dance teachers in my pre-professional trainee program. I know they do it because they want me to be my best, but if I'm that bad maybe I should quit. What should I do?

—K.C., New York, NY

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Advice for Dancers
The STARZ drama "Flesh and Bone" features a storyline about a director who crosses the line with his dancers. Photo via STARZ.

Recent media attention on sexual harassment has me wondering about my director, who has gotten involved with adult dancers in the company while being married. One friend became depressed after the relationship ended. Another dancer's contract wasn't renewed when his wife found out about his affair. Is this behavior crossing the line?

—Feeling Uncomfortable

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Advice for Dancers
A dance career can send you on a roller coaster of emotions, but evaluating reality can help give you perspective. Thinkstock.

I never believe that I deserve to be happy. This reaction kicked in big time since I got a steady job. My emotions are a roller coaster: joy at the chance to perform, terror that the people in charge don't like me and resentment at not getting solo roles. I'm driving myself crazy.

—Terry, Philadelphia, PA

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Advice for Dancers
Dancers at an audition for Kyle Abraham, Brian Brooks, Kate Weare and Anna Sperber. Photo by Jim Lafferty.

In your wellness workshop at The Ailey School, you suggested that a way to attend a lot of auditions after graduation (without getting depressed) was to see each one as a free class. It worked. I can't remember how many jobs I've tried out for, but I managed to stay hopeful and finally landed a full-time position. Thank you!

—Grateful Dancer, Newark, NJ

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