Rhee Gold's DanceLife is proud to support dance educators in caring for the mental wellness of both themselves and their dancers with these free resources. We have partnered with Mindful Dancers Wellness Studio and Danscend to bring you new prodcuts, free resources, information, programs, certification and more; all designed to assist you in prioritizing mental wellness both in and out of the studio. Together we can make a difference!

Additional Information & Resources

How to Help Dancers Cope with Social Physique Anxiety

According to a 2020 survey by Minding the Gap, 55% of the dancers surveyed reported high levels of social physique anxiety. Social physique anxiety is a subset of social anxiety and it is the unease someone feels when they believe they are being judged on their appearance.

Social physique anxiety can look like dancers not being able to see themselves as good-looking or having recurring thoughts or a belief that they don’t have a “dancer body.” Often, a dancer’s physical appearance is connected to their need to make a good impression on dance educators, choreographers, and peers to receive positive feedback, casting, and evaluations

Research suggests that in the non-dance world, people with a higher level of social physique anxiety prefer settings and situations where their physique doesn’t come into play. Think, for instance, working in person versus working remotely. However, when it comes to dance, the incorporation of the body into the work is unavoidable. In fact, the body IS the work.

Another study published this year that surveyed college students in three universities found that something called physical appearance perfectionism positively predicted the social physique anxiety. Raise your virtual hand if you know some dancers that strive to be physically perfect in all ways. Well, now, we have a phrase to describe it.

Physical appearance perfectionism is exactly what it sounds like - holding yourself to extremely high goals related to physical appearance. This is often correlated to extreme exercise and extreme dieting. It can be a battle between worry about the body’s imperfection and hope for eventually reaching perfection.

Here are two ways dance educators can help dancers treat their bodies with more compassion:

  1. Compliment dancers on anything OTHER than their bodies. Changing feedback from “your leg looks beautiful in that developpé” to “I love the hard work you’re putting into your adagio technique” can go a long way.
  2. Focus on how dancing FEELS rather than how it LOOKS. Try not looking in the mirror for a few classes. Ask dancers to reflect on the internal sensations of, say, an arabesque, rather than the external appearance of their body when they execute one.

Want to schedule a workshop to help your dancers create a more positive body image that can help them feel confident and brave? Click here to schedule a virtual workshop today.