Mental Health Within the Dance Community

Mental health opinions about the dance community from dancers who are in the dance community.

Rose Halley , Staff Writer

Dance has a lot to do with your mental health. From the way we see ourselves, to the way we think about ourselves mentally. Although a lot is physical, there is a big mental aspect of dance that a lot of people don’t talk about. I know for me personally; it has affected me both positively and negatively. Dance in many ways has saved my life. Dance has also taken its toll on my family and me. 

Below is an interview with a fellow dancer named Jillian, along with my answers from my own personal experience.  

How has dance affected your overall life positively? 

JI have met new people and made new friends.”  

R: Dance for me has taught me skills for talking to people you look up to and has taught me so much about the industry and what I should be expecting. It has also always given me a safe place to express myself in a way that is more than just words. Dance has continued to save my life, time and time again.  

How has dance affected your overall life negatively?  

J: “It can be really stressful when it gets really busy and I set myself up to standards I can’t achieve.”  

R: Sometimes the lines get blurred with how important dance can seem. Especially competition dance. You are made to feel like dance is the most important thing in the world. When in my own world it can be, but sometimes the lines get blurred.  

Do you believe dance has made you hyper-aware of what your body looks like sometimes to a fault?  

J“Yes 100%”  

R: Yes I do. I think this because you are constantly looking in the mirror and comparing yourself to other body types that you’d rather look like. Also, there are a lot of toxic instructors that you will run into that and will make comments about your body not looking how it “should”.  

What is one thing you think could be implemented in dance to help with dancer’s mental health? 

J: “Not focusing so much on the competition aspect and more of the team aspect.”  

R: I believe in implementing resources for dancers to focus on how they are doing mentally not just physically. I also believe checking in with each dancer during a stressful competition season would be great.  

As you can imagine, dance has it’s high and lows. If you are a dancer of any kind, you will understand to a certain extent how amazing and how hard it can be. It is a beautiful sport overall and I will always recommend dancing away any worries you ever have. From dancing in your room to dancing at competitions. Anxiety and depression have taken a toll on a lot of aspects of my life and although dance is a huge reason I’m getting through that, I sometimes wish there was more support overall.