Staatliche Ballettschule Berlin; 'Far', Ch. Wayne McGregor © Ulrich Gessner


Why do you still have so many doubts about dance becoming your profession?


It is very common when we are about 15 or 16 years old, we have doubts in general, about our career and what we should do with it.   When you are already dancing seriously and consistently, you ask yourself whether it is worth it to keep going and try to make it your profession or to go down a more traditional path. But why does this always happen in dance? What are the factors that make it such an insecure profession?

When I was 14 years old I had to make such a decision in my life. I was about to go to a really important competition in Brazil, where I would have the great opportunity to participate in the audition for the School of Bolshoi Theater in Brazil. At this point, I was faced with a choice, “Should I go to the competition or should I just stay in São Paulo and go to the University of Nutrition?” After this time, I started to realise a lot of things happened that would interfere in my decision in order to pursue a career in dance.

Based on my experiences, I would like to discuss three topics that are very important and relevant to consider to help us to better reflect on theme of pursuing a career in dance. These three things are: external, internal and philosophical factors.

Let’s start by talking about the external factors. Have you ever asked yourself what makes you feel uncomfortable, scared or even frustrated with the idea of becominga professional dancer? Well, most of the reasons, if you stop and think, may come from factors outside of your control . This could be from someone or from a collective unconscious, like fear of frustration, parents/family who do not support you, thoughts like “how hard is it to have a dancer graduation process?” and  financial support in the dance profession. In my experience, some of them were my reasons to rethink having  a dance as a career, butt what I’ve learnt is that you may not change the external factors, but it’s your and my responsibility to consider how they are going to reflect in our lives and in our decisions.

There is a risk you end up leaving the responsibilities of your choices to others. But what about you? What do you really want? Through this, I also realised something else: the external changes for the better will come if you start prioritising the internal factors first.

The internal factors matter. It’s not just about having the change that you want to see in the dance world, first in yourself but also it becomes easier when I feed the empty gaps in myself first and then they will help me to also have a better perspective of the outside. But what are   these internal factors? All the fears, frustration, doubts and so on, in most cases come from a  root cause, a  lack of self knowledge. We have the tendency to not pay attention to ourselves, most of the time we end up outsourcing all of our feelings because they are too hard to face that this is a very important point, if you have addressed some internal questions and feelings, everything is going to be far more simple to face. Of course this kind of perception comes with time and maturity. However,I do still wish I could have read something that would have told me this when I was 15 years old.

Last but not least, the philosophical factors: limiting beliefs and collective unconsciousness. These are simply the consequences from our internal and external factors.  It is very important to remember that these philosophical factors are more about a collective way of thinking than might be your philosophy or perspective to watch and belief in the dance profession.

It is quite important to split these ideas and suits you and your thoughts/beliefs, and what doesn’t fit with what you expect for your dance career. If you have clarity, and this can take time, you can filter everything out that might stop considering a career in dance.

Now, take some time to reflect about these three factors that I have brought to you and consider making a checklist to see what are the main beliefs and people that are stopping you believing that a dance career can be possible and can suit you and your reality. This reflection is very important, because most of the time, the factors that can be avoided is not just about us or the others, but a combination of both.

Geovana Peres da Costa