Dancers: Don’t Lose the Forest for the Trees

We had a really lovely pair of girls in the studio a couple of weekends ago, friends who were very different dancers but who supported each other and were thick as thieves.  I had done dance photo shoot with both dancers previously, so they understood the process you have to go through to create powerful audition photos and they had a good amount of patience with themselves.  It was a really fun day with lots of laughter and support.

dance audition photo advice Rachel Neville

Siobhan Howley, Dancer Photo Rachel Neville

Nevertheless, it was so interesting for me to note each dancer’s reactions to her images.  One dancer would come over to the screen and ‘ooo’ over a shot, the other dancer tended to focus on one or two parts of the image that she was not finished finessing yet or was having trouble with.

Sound familiar???

How often do you look in the mirror while you are dancing and find yourself dissatisfied with your work because one body part seems to not want to co-operate with you?  How often do you put your lipstick on, note how tired you look under your eyes (maybe a little concealer there?) and then pay attention to the imperfections of your lip line only to have your lips start to just look really weird to yourself?

dance audition photo with props flower bouquet

Kelly Spencer, Dancer Photo Rachel Neville

So often, we look at ourselves in parts and do not look at ourselves as a whole.  Of course, we are trained to do that so that we can improve, to self correct and to progress.  I find almost at least once a shoot, I’ll have to remind a dancer that there is potential in a shot, that we just need to fine tune or try again and stop their heads from jumping on the ‘I’m not good enough’ train.  So often, and I really do mean almost every day, a dancer who gives up on a shoot at this point or thinks they can’t achieve a line or a jump or movement is actually only one or two more attempts away from an amazing shot.

Kaeli Ware dancer audition photo Rachel Neville

Kaeli Ware, Dancer Photo Rachel Neville

When I was in labor with my first child, I remember asking my midwife ‘how much $%##ing longer?’ and she replied ‘as long as it takes’.  She was right of course, but what she told me afterwards was that for homebirthers, it’s usually at the point that we ask that question that we are almost there.

So my recommendation for you today: take a step back.

See the forest, not just the trees.  It just may be right around the corner.  Try again.  And if you are in my studio, do it again with ‘MORE!!!’.

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