Tips for Getting Rid of Seasonal Depression

How do I get rid of seasonal depression? I fall into a funk as soon as the weather gets warmer, and I should be happy. —Warm Weather Blues, New York, NY First, please try to avoid the “tyranny of the shoulds,” a concept first described by German psychoanalyst Karen Horney. When you say that you […]

When Injury Leads to an Identity Crisis

I’d been a professional dancer for five years when I realized the pain I’d been feeling in my hip and down my sciatic nerve was not going away. I had been treating it for two years as we dancers do—with regular visits to my masseuse, physical therapy, baths, ice and lots of Aleve—but I never […]

Crying in the Studio Actually Offers These 3 Surprising Benefits

In my last years dancing, the tears came constantly. And I felt a deep shame and embarrassment every time it happened in the studio, which only exacerbated the situation. I felt my tears were giving me away—a manifestation of my weakness on display for all to see. The truth is that science has proven that […]

What to Do If You Think a Fellow Dancer Is Having a Mental Health Crisis

When it comes to mental health, dancers are the ones on the frontlines trying to support each other. Many find themselves routinely confronted with concerns for their friends. Maybe it’s the dancer down the barre who you know is cutting, or the partner who only speaks about himself with disparagement and disgust. According to Dr. […]

How Can We Chip Away at the Shame Surrounding Mental Illness?

As a dancer going through a mental health challenge, loneliness can feel like your only companion. Pacific Northwest Ballet soloist Steven Loch has managed obsessive-compulsive disorder since middle school, and for nearly a decade felt too scared to speak up. “We feel like if we say something people will be horrified by some of the […]

The Depression–Allergy Connection

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 Surprisingly, allergies can affect your mood. Research by neuropsychologist Dr. Paul Marshall shows […]

"Dance Isn't For Everyone"

When I wrote about my struggle with depression, and eventual departure from dance because of it, I expected criticism. I was prepared to be challenged. But much to my relief, and horror, dancers from all over the world responded with support and stories of solidarity. The most critical response I saw was this one: “Dance […]

Why Are We Still So Bad At Addressing Dancers' Mental Health?

“So why did you quit?” It’s a question I’ve been asked hundreds of times since I stopped dancing over a decade ago. My answer has changed over the years as my own understanding of what lead me to walk away from greatest love of my life has become clearer. “I had some injuries,” I would […]

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