Photo by Erin Baiano

Dear Katie: Imposter Syndrome Is Ruining Dance for Me!

In our "Dear Katie" series, Miami City Ballet soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email dearkatie@dancespirit.com for a chance to be featured!


Dear Katie,

Self-doubt is my biggest enemy. I'm always comparing myself to the other dancers in my class, and even though my teachers have told me I'm talented, I never feel like I measure up. What's the best way to adjust my perspective?

Maddie


Dear Maddie,

Every dancer struggles with self-doubt—including world-famous dancers. Start out by recognizing that even people who appear super-confident have some aspect of their technique or performance they wish they could change. Knowing that you're not alone will give you a healthier sense of perspective.

Hard as it can be, try to really hear and believe your teachers. They're looking at your dancing more objectively than you are, and they wouldn't say you were talented if you weren't. Let their faith in you bolster your faith in yourself.

Finally, set small, achievable goals on a regular basis. Think, "Today I'm going to work on my turnout," or "I want to focus on my port de bras in this class." Narrowing your focus will keep you from feeling overwhelmed or defeated by the need to measure up on every front. The mental side of dance is always the hardest, but if you can teach yourself to believe in your talent, you will succeed.

For more of Katie's helpful tips and advice, click here.

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A Letter from the Editor in Chief

Hi, dance friends. It is a strange time to be a person in the world, and an especially strange time to be a dancer. As the dance community faces the coronavirus crisis, a lot of you are coping with closed studios, canceled performances and competitions, and a general sense of anxiety about how your world will look going forward.

Yes, dancers are super resilient, and there's been a lot of inspiring community-building happening. #LivingRoomDances and Instagram dance parties and virtual ballet classes with the pros are wonderful. Dance can, and should, be a bright spot in the darkness. But that weird, empty feeling you have? It might be grief. The loss of the certainty of daily class, the loss of the promise of that big end-of-year performance—that's real. The dance studio has always been a safe place; it's especially hard not to have that outlet now, when you need it most.

We're here for you. We—and our friends at Dance Magazine, Pointe, Dance Teacher, The Dance Edit, and Dance Business Weekly—are doing our best to document the hurdles facing the dance industry, and to advocate for dancers in need. We're developing more online content that will help you maintain and improve your technique while you're at home, and process the mental and emotional fallout of all this upheaval. (You can keep up with the latest stories here.) And we're still making our print magazine. We have issues planned and shot, full of great dance stories and beautiful photos. We're not going anywhere.

We want to hear from you. Talk to us. Or dance to us. Or both. We won't stop moving, and you shouldn't, either.

Margaret

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