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Building Healthy Habits for Dancers

Aug 18, 2021

Every month Role Call Prep shares dance career tips and industry advice to help advance young artist’s skills. This month we talk about building healthy habits.


Building Healthy Habits for Dancers
by Sarah Horne

 

Self-care is crucial for dancers. Mental health needs to be cared for as much as our physical health. A wonderful resource for mental health issues is Minding the Gap, and I encourage you to check it out. 

Defining Meditation


For today, I want to focus on meditation for dancers. This article was first posted on our sister company’s website, RahDanceWorks, and has been edited for Role Call: 


Meditation has many definitions and people seem to project their own bias into what that definition is.


Artists in the dance field are familiar with self-awareness techniques. Meditation is just another tool to add to your artist toolkit.


Instead of immediately projecting something religious into the word “meditation” let’s think for a moment about what happens when dancers are deep in the process of movement.


That’s right. Meditation is a tool you can use to help prepare for (or cool down after) a long rehearsal session, an intense performance, or many other experiences that are unique to artists.

 

Movers are Natural Meditators


Movers, when involved with their training or while performing, tend to focus all of their energy into the activity. The same happens with musicians, visual artists, scholars, gardeners, readers and nearly everyone who loves the activity they are doing! They focus on the task at hand.


This focus, this total involvement, this blocking out of everything else that surrounds them, is a form of meditation. Prayer is also a form of meditation as long as the participants are focused on their involvement. But meditation can also be sitting quietly and stilling the mind. In a sense, simply letting go of all the activities of the day, all of the issues that are troublesome, and focusing instead on simply being, is meditation.

 

Develop a Practice


As dancers grow and mature, meditation may become more desirable. It helps movers become more aware of who they are – in a more introspective way. Listening to their inner voice – listening to how they are growing and developing as an inner experience – is vital for a healthy individual. It can also makes you a powerful artist.


Wondering where to start? Here’s a very quick way to begin:

  1. Sit in a Comfortable Position
  2. Close Your Eyes
  3. Smile
  4. Focus on Your Breathe
  5. Dump the Garbage (aka let your thoughts pass you by)
  6. Find a Inner and Centered Place
  7. Focus on Stillness
  8. Keep Going (don’t stop until you find a natural end to your session)

 

Many Paths to Your Inner Guide


There are so many forms of meditation, so many ways to become more mindful, and many teachers are now practicing their own forms. There are many paths to finding your own inner guide and you should have fun exploring.


One excellent website,
www.joshuajayindo.com, has excellent instruction and answers to many of the issues that arise when students begin their practice.


And, “
Meditation for Movers” is a free download via RahDanceWorks. It’s a great place to start!

 

 

Questions or Concerns? Always feel free to reach out to us!


Photo Credit: Jurien Huggins

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