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Body Image During Time Off (from a ballet dancer in quarantine)

There are so many struggles ballet dancers face. Often the perfectionists, we are constantly expected to live up to this ideal mold in terms of our bodies. Of course we all cannot and will not look the same and this is where our perfectionism can be a detriment to us mentally and physically.


I find this particularly true in my daily technique classes time and time again. I have learned, over the years of dealing with my poor body image that I have to choose a spot where I can either barely see myself in the mirror OR a spot in the mirror that makes me "look my best."


Now that we are all quarantined in our homes and making due with the spaces we have, I'm finding myself become more confident-


Now that we are all quarantined in our homes and making due with the spaces we have, I'm finding myself become more confident in my technique and overall body image.


Don't get me wrong-I feel very frustrated that there are limitations to what I can do in my "at home studio." Thus, preventing me from being in "peak shape."


However,


I feel like being forced to dance in a not so ideal environment has allowed me to work smarter and better for my body personally.



-dancing in a not so ideal environment has allowed me to work smarter and better for my body-


If you happened to read the above introduction, you're well aware that I suffer from body dysmorphia among other struggles many dancers and perfectionists face.



I never film myself in technique class. 


I have never been a fan of my footage in technique class because I have so many things working against me- poor turnout, low extensions, etc..- but the one thing I'm often proud of is my performance quality on stage. It is something that even I can admit to doing well and I love to see how I carry my artistry from role to role. When watching these videos I have felt my artistic qualities over shine the technical areas I may or may not lack.


Since I do not have a mirror in my space as I mentioned before, I've had to rely on corrections my teachers are giving in general but also how every step FEELS.


Being in quarantine-with limited facilities-has had me resort to filming myself in my virtual Zoom classes every day.


This has done wonders-I believe-for my technique these past few weeks, already! Now that I have the footage of me on hand I have been able to dissect every movement I make and from there understand what it is I need to correct.


I've always been a visual learner so this has helped me a lot.



It's as simple as that. I'm studying my movement and improving my technique-


NOT criticizing my Body-

resulting in quite the change of perspective.


Of course, with my slightly damaged mindset, there were some negative thoughts looming when I began this process, but now it is helped me to see myself clearly and even prompted me to share clips of my classes on social media- something I never thought I'd be willing or able to do!


 

You can see my class footage from an exciting opportunity to take class with Skylar Brandt HERE:


https://www.instagram.com/p/B-0q7lIjF15/



 

In conclusion,


making the decision to dance as much as I am while in a national quarantine has entirely been my decision.


Every morning I wake up and make the choice to get my body moving, even when I am physically or mentally exhausted. There aren't as many outside pressures from directors or teachers demanding I be in class or rehearsals.


This time has helped me reevaluate how much I want this as my career and that I absolutely NEED to dance.


And


I'm so happy and proud to say its in a healthy and productive way!


Every morning I wake up and make the choice to get my body moving-
It's entirely on me 
 



I hope that you all are finding peace and positivity during this absolutely insane time we are living in

and that if you are moving at all I hope that it's because YOU want to and it makes you feel good.


If you've been struggling with body image take this time to experiment with ways to reevaluate your perception of yourself. You should be proud of whatever you accomplish during this quarantine.


All the best,

Grace McCann <3



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