It is no secret in today’s age that body image and self-confidence is an issue amongst many children. Everywhere we look we are surrounded by unrealistic images of women and men who are photo-shopped to look perfect, brainwashing us into think this is the norm.
For dancers, this issue becomes even more challenging through hours of rehearsals being invested to sculpt their bodies, resulting in dancers assessing themselves continuously to perfect their craft. Consequently, dancers are looking at their body closely all the time making it far easier to critique and focus on individual flaws than acknowledging and praising their best assets. Cultivating a positive body image for dancers is not just crucial for their general day-to-day self-esteem but also for their confidence as a dancer. Enhanced confidence is critical for dancers as this ultimately transfers into a dancer’s routines, allowing them to perform at their best.
So if you have any students struggling with self-image here are our top tips to get them on the right track to appreciating their body.
Recognise Critique as Helpful
Whether your students aspire to be a professional dancer or they just have a passion for dance they need to understand they are going to be subject to critique occasionally. Whilst these comments are sometimes difficult for students to hear it’s important to help them understand that they are said to help your students develop and improve. Teach your dancers to take advice on board with confidence so they can learn and grow quickly.
The Right Clothing
It is important to consider your dancers self-confidence when making costume choices as it is imperative that costumes and uniforms are appropriate for all of your dancers, making them feel great, on and off stage. The right dancewear is critical for your dancer’s confidence so spend time assessing the pros and cons of different clothing for your dancers so you can help them feel at their best when performing. IDS stock a wide range of costumes which are available in a variety of sizes helping you to dress all of your students in the same outfit. Additionally, our RAD branded uniform is made with Our First Fit™ premium microfibre fabric which has a superior stretch and recovery; the leotards have the feel and comfort of cotton with the benefits of advanced moisture-wicking technology ensuring the garment stays dry and comfortable to wear. As a result, dancers will feel more confident in dance class and less self-conscious about sweating.
Telling students, friends and family members not to stress about their body image is something which is much easier said than done; but stressing about body image does not help self-esteem. If dancers are filled with self-doubt, they will work themselves up stressing on the little things which do not matter. Help your students understand that everyone has body confidence issues to make them realise they are not alone.
Focus on the positives
Whilst we could all dwell on the figure we wish we had, it is important to teach your students from a young age to appreciate what they have. Get your students to make a list of positive features which they like about themselves; this can be personality, aesthetics, achievements or general health. If your students struggle to do this task by themselves, pair your students up and get them to say what they like about their friends so they can realise their own strengths.
Find a Healthy Role Model
Teach your students to have a healthy role model instead of looking to the usual celebrities. Educate them to try and find someone who is a healthy and happy individual for them to aspire to be. This could be someone you know like a fellow dance teacher or coach or a friend or member of family. Additionally, it could also be an athlete or professional dancer who practices positive body image.
Social media has become extremely dangerous for body image with filters, angles and lighting all contributing to the perfect image, creating a fake perception of what people look like. Teach your students to stop comparing themselves to other people. They do not know what happens behind the camera so help them focus on the positive things they have in their life as opposed to envying what others have.
Ultimately, a dancer has to find their own strengths and that includes their physical appearance and their skills as a dancer. By teaching your students to appreciate what they have and focus on the positives as opposed to comparing themselves to others they are more likely to be less self-conscious.
So spend some time helping your students increase their confidence and shop a wide range of dancewear online now with IDS to make sure you are doing everything you can to make your dancers look and feel their best.