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My Boyfriend Left Me for Another Dancer in the Company. Now What?

My boyfriend left me for another dancer in the company. How can I keep performing at my best? It's humiliating.

—Lovelorn, New York, NY


I am so sorry. Mixing work with your personal life can be especially complicated in a field like dance. While it can be hard to come to grips with this heartbreak, you haven't lost anything of value if he's someone who could give you up so easily.

My advice is to seek support from your friends, and if the situation is affecting your work or you become depressed for two or more weeks, a psychologist who works with dancers might be helpful. In the studio, try to keep your attention focused on you and your progress. When you're ready to start dating again, don't be afraid to look for a new love outside the company.

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TaraMarie Perri in tree pose at Storm King Art Center. Photo by Sophie Kuller, Courtesy Perri

5 Self-Soothing Exercises You Can Do to Calm Your Anxiety

Physical stillness can be one of the hardest things to master in dance. But stillness in the bigger sense—like when your career and life are on hold—goes against every dancers' natural instincts.

"Dancers are less comfortable with stillness and change than most," says TaraMarie Perri, founder and director of Perri Institute for Mind and Body and Mind Body Dancer. "Through daily discipline, we are trained to move through space and are attracted to forward momentum. Simply put, dancers are far more comfortable when they have a sense of control over the movements and when life is 'in action.' "

To regain that sense of control, and soothe some of the anxiety most of us are feeling right now, it helps to do what we know best: Get back into our bodies. Certain movements and shapes can help ground us, calm our nervous system and bring us into the present.

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