Finding Your Feet Again: Conquering Competition Blues and Dancing Forward

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Dance Studios Etobicoke

A dance competition loss can be an overwhelming experience for a dancer. Learning why the loss happened and how to move forward can help you develop the appropriate coping skills for your physical, mental, and emotional health.

Losing a dance competition is often associated with feelings of failure or disappointment. This type of negative self-talk isn’t healthy and can affect your confidence, self-worth, and motivation to continue your passion for dance. But a loss isn’t the end of the world.

First and foremost, it’s important to celebrate your accomplishments, even if the performance resulted in a loss. Not all dancers enter competitions. Showcasing your skills on stage and being critiqued by others is no small feat. Each competition should be considered a badge of honour and pride.

It takes years of practice, dedication, and commitment to become a successful dancer. Recreational and professional dance competitions are designed to help you build your strengths while highlighting your areas of improvement. At every competition, there have to be winners and losers.

How you respond to a competition loss not only speaks volumes about your character as a person but also about the resilience of your love for the sport and the art form.

Recognizing the Disappointment

Post-competition blues are a real emotion that every performer and athlete experiences at least once in their lifetime. The wide range of emotions that can arise in the aftermath of a loss can be overwhelming and daunting. From feelings of sadness and frustration to anger and self-doubt, it’s important to recognize that all of these emotions are valid and understandable. By recognizing your own disappointment or frustration, you can develop the skills needed to persevere and improve your performance in the future.

Additionally, the physical and mental manifestations of disappointment can be equally overwhelming, from fatigue and lack of motivation to negative self-talk. It’s important to remember that these reactions are completely normal and are a natural response to the situation.

Tools for Processing a Dance Competition Loss

Here are some ways you can process your loss and move forward with your head held high:

Have Self-Compassion

The emotional effects of a loss in the competitive dance world can weigh heavy on a dancer’s self-esteem, confidence, and motivation. But no matter how upset you may be with yourself, it’s important to show yourself grace and compassion. Even the best dancers have bad days and can’t win every competition. You must learn self-forgiveness and how to replace negative self-talk with positive affirmations.

Reflect and Move Forward

Take the time and energy to reflect on the constructive feedback you received from the judges. Reviewing your coaches’ notes, watching video coverage, and discussing the professional advice you received can help you reflect on your performance and future goals. After you’ve reflected on your performance and what you could do differently next time, move forward. Celebrating each and every achievement and milestone is crucial to your physical, mental, and emotional health.

Don’t Take It Personally

While the judges’ scores are meant to be fair, sometimes they can be subjective. Each judge at a dance competition brings different expertise and experience to the table. One judge may be basing their score on the artistry and the emotions conveyed during the performance while another may be focusing on technical skills. Use these scores as a guideline to improve your performance, but don’t take your scores personally. You can’t please everyone.

Lean on a Support System

One of the best ways to cope with losing at a dance competition is to lean on a solid support system. This can involve fellow dancers, family members, friends, and coaches. For some people, having open and honest conversations about the emotions they are feeling after a competition loss can put everything into perspective and boost their self-esteem. It is important to remember that everyone suffers a loss during competitions at one time or another.

Set New Goals

In an attempt to move forward from a devastating competition loss, focus your attention on establishing new, attainable goals. While it’s easy to think only about gold medals and trophies—that is the ultimate goal, after all—concentrating on personal growth and how you can achieve your goals through new challenges is a great place to start. Furthermore, each new goal set should be a collaborative effort between you, your support system, and your coach/instructor.

Maintain Motivation

Suffering a loss at a dance competition can affect your motivation to practice and keep learning new skills. It is crucial that you persist with your passion for dance by preparing your body and mind. Taking a step back emotionally to regain your focus can help you see the bigger picture. Find inspiration by seeing, talking to, and learning about other dancers’ journeys. But whatever you do, don’t give up!

Build Resilience

Building resilience helps you to focus on learning from your mistakes in order to grow your skillset. Positive thinking and self-discovery come from partaking in competitions as progress and setbacks are clearly defined. Aside from learning coping skills when a loss is experienced, you can also gain perspective on new goals and skills to develop.

Performing Dance Arts Offers Support with Dance Competition Loss

At Performing Dance Arts, we understand the disappointment a dancer can experience when a dance competition loss occurs. In addition to providing lessons on techniques to improve your dance skills, we also focus on the mental and emotional aspects of dance.

As our instructors have world-stage experience, they offer support and resources to help you celebrate your progress, milestones, and achievements. Call us at 905-856-1030 (Vaughan) or 647-640-5010 (Etobicoke) or 647-262-1550 (Yorkdale) to discuss how our dance family can help you on your dance journey.

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