Dancers: Whose voice do you listen to?

Body image is defined in Webster's Dictionary as "a subjective picture of one's own physical appearance established both by self-observation and by noting the reactions of others."

As stated, your body image is not just defined by your own personal perspective but also by other people's opinions. We internalize environmental cues and reactions or feedback from our peers, teachers, parents, and friends.

Adolescents will obsess over their body type, but they must learn to accept and embrace their natural body shape. Positive self-image and acceptance are powerful emotions, and we need to learn how to accept what we cannot change and find beauty and acceptance in ourselves and our friends.

Parents & teachers are powerful influencers on young dancers, and they should encourage dancers to adopt healthy attitudes and habits. They need to promote positive messaging when it comes to acceptance, self-image, and self-love. Adolescence is a formative period in the development of self-acceptance. We should not overlook the power of speaking words to our dancers that encourage growth mindsets and positivity and avoid remarks and comments that will diminish one’s self-worth or efforts.

Every dancer has their strengths. But many times, dancers don’t recognize their strengths, and they get upset and focus on the things they cannot do or skills they struggle to master. It is important that a teacher help young dancers recognize through encouraging words, a supportive classroom environment, and praise that effort and hard work will eventually pay off. At PWDA, we remind our students that they do not say” I CAN’T,” but “I Can, and I will” work hard to learn new skills, make new friends, or try something new! We want to help them find their inner voice, which encourages a “can do” attitude and help them recognize and defeat the inner voices that hold them back!

The collective teaching and performing experience of Prince William Dance Academy's teaching staff exceeds 75 years, and each teacher brings their love and passion for dance into the classroom. Each of our teachers brings a unique perspective and personal journey that includes emotional or physical struggles, rewards, achievement, and setbacks. They very much understand the defeat that hurtful words and rejection can have on young dancers. We believe in a studio culture that will encourage, support, educate, and enrich our dancers to thrive and grow into human beings ready to conquer and succeed in the world.

- Collaborated on by Ms Kim Thomas and Ms Lauren Griffis. With input from Ms Lindsay Funch.

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