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

Is Pursuing Dance My Parents' Dream or Mine?

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


Involvement from parents or mentors is crucial during dance training. However, the desire to pursue this career long-term has to come from you. When other people become too involved in your dancing, seeking what's called "achievement by proxy," it's easy to lose your motivation because you're doing it for them. That's when self-sabotage can rear its ugly head in the form of injuries, avoidance or quitting.

My advice is to thank your parents for their support, but let them know you need some time to decide on your ultimate goal. A new teacher may provide inspiration, or perhaps you should simply ask your program for a leave of absence to see how you really feel without dance. A survival job combined with cross-training, to stay in shape, may give you the necessary space to discover if dance lies in your future.

Send your questions to Dr. Linda Hamilton at advicefordancers@dancemedia.com.

Latest Posts


Stark Photo Productions, Courtesy Harlequin

Why Your Barre Can Make or Break Your At-Home Dance Training

Throughout the pandemic, Shelby Williams, of Royal Ballet of Flanders (aka "Biscuit Ballerina"), has been sharing videos that capture the pitfalls of dancers working from home: slipping on linoleum, kicking over lamps and even taking windows apart at the "barre." "Dancers aren't known to be graceful all of the time," says Mandy Blackmon, PT, DPT, OSC, CMTPT, head physical therapist/medical director for Atlanta Ballet. "They tend to fall and trip."

Many dancers have tried to make their home spaces as safe as possible for class and rehearsal by setting up a piece of marley, like Harlequin's Dance Mat, to work on. But there's another element needed for taking thorough ballet classes at home: a portable barre.

"Using a barre is kinda Ballet 101," says 16-year-old Haley Dale, a student in her second year at American Ballet Theatre's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. She'd bought a portable barre from Harlequin to use at her parents' home in Northern Virginia even before the pandemic hit. "Before I got it, honestly I would stay away from doing barre work at home. Now I'm able to do it all the time."

Blackmon bought her 15-year-old stepdaughter a freestanding Professional Series Ballet Barre from Harlequin early on in quarantine. "I was worried about her injuring herself without one," she admits.

What exactly makes Harlequin's barres an at-home must-have, and hanging on to a chair or countertop so risky? Here are five major differences dancers will notice right away.

GO DEEPER SHOW LESS
December 2020