A word about perfectionism

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The concept of perfectionism is ingrained in dancers. On a daily basis they strive for precision and mastery. They approach their artform with great discipline and work extremely hard with little or no complaint. They are often push their bodies beyond their limits, with a “no pain, no gain” mentality.

But is this a healthy attitude? Perfectionism can have both positive and negative impacts. There is a fine line between working to improve and pushing so hard that you lose all perspective and motivation. According to the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science, for those dancers focused on elite performance, “It becomes important to navigate the narrow path between a healthy striving for excellence and the ultimately detrimental striving for unrealistic perfection”.

As clinical psychologist Dr Harriet Braiker says, “Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralising.”

Teachers should encourage students to set realistic goals and help them remain focused and driven without running the risk of never being satisfied.




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