Coping with Disappointment of Cancelled Dance Classes and Events
It’s Okay to Grieve: Coping with the Emotional Disappointment of Cancelled Dance Classes and Events
The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed our lives in ways that were once unimaginable. For the dance community, the shock of social distancing measures has shaken us to the core. Our community revolves around togetherness.
Whether it’s in a rehearsal studio, or in a jam-packed performance venue, dancers, teachers, and parents all thrive on coming together to celebrate hard work and talent. The reality that we will all be isolated in our homes for weeks or months on end has naturally been a devastating setback to everyone in our community.
Already, thousands of competitions, events, shows, and recitals have been canceled or postponed around the world. With dance studios closed across the country, and no exciting events to anticipate attending, the entire dance world seems to have come to a standstill. For dancers, this is very difficult to come to terms with.
We need to feel our connection with each other! We need spaces to collaborate with each other and we need opportunities to live in our bodies and express the magic that we hold within our souls!
The sense of loss and disappointment that we are experiencing is substantial and extremely disheartening for every single person in our community.
And, with a loss this great, it’s natural that there should be a grieving process. Give yourself permission to grieve!
Here are a few ideas on how you can cope.
Acknowledge How You’re Feeling
It’s normal and OKAY to feel the sense of loss and disappointment you might be experiencing. There are so many things about the dancer’s life that have changed almost overnight. This has an impact and you are allowed to feel that.
In addition to losing access to doing what you love most in life, many of you have lost your friends and your daily routine. Don’t be afraid of your feelings. Allow yourself to feel your feelings.
Once we understand how we feel, we can begin to learn to cope with these losses.
An important stage of processing a loss is to acknowledge your emotions. Tell yourself that it’s OKAY to be feeling whatever you are feeling right now. You may be feeling sad, frustrated, angry, or even scared, no emotional response is wrong – grief can trigger a wide range of unexpected emotions.
Be KIND to yourself. Give yourself permission to be where you are at.
Spend some time speaking to friends and family about how you’re feeling. By acknowledging the emotional impact of these sudden changes, you might in time start to find coping with the loss a little easier.
Try to Connect with your Community in New Ways
Just because we are all staying home and out of the studio, it doesn’t mean we can’t keep connecting. We are Dancers Strong! We have an amazing community!
Try seeking out new ways to connect. Thankfully, modern technology has made it possible for us to organize virtual classes, conventions, meetings and chats!
You might simply schedule a FaceTime call with some of your best friends from class. Or, you might seek out online dance classes, where you can recreate the feeling of being in the studio in your own home.
There are so many incredible classes online!
So many studios are offering regular studio classes on Zoom! Go to your classes! Your Teachers want to see you and so do your friends! This will help you to feel connected to your home and offer you the sense of belonging you might be craving right now.
Breaking Bounds Faculty, James Kinney and Alex Nordin are teaching online Broadway Jazz classes at Steps on Broadway!
Breaking Bounds Faculty Lukas McFarlane is offering daily classes on his Instagram Live!
The National Ballet of Canada is offering classes through Zoom!
And there is so much more out there!
You could even arrange a dance-themed movie night, where you and your friends watch your favourite dance movie together. Using the internet to connect with the dance community will help you to feel less isolated and more hopeful for what the future holds.
We all have so much to be grateful for in our lives.
It is easy to have negative thoughts and feelings. When we feel this energy taking over, we can always turn to our feelings of gratitude as a way of remembering who we are, what we have and what we are here to do.
Reflect on your thoughts of gratitude in a journal. Try writing down at least 5 things you feel grateful for every day. It doesn’t even have to be anything huge or magnificent. Keep it simple.
Writing down the things you feel grateful for creates a sense of love in your heart and will help you to feel more joy in your day to day.
We can never underestimate the power of gratitude.
Elevate your vibrations by practicing gratitude on a daily basis!!
Dance at Home
Try to set yourself a new rehearsal routine that you can do at home. If your studio is offering classes on Zoom, then you will already have a structured schedule in place.
This will help you to feel a little more normal during these abnormal times.
Incorporating some daily stretching, conditioning and dance techniques or exploring your sense of artistry, self-expression and creativity through choreography will help your mind, body and soul to feel more empowered, focused, productive and calm.
However, don’t feel pressured to push yourself too hard. This is a strange time for everyone. It’s completely natural that our dance routines will change. Do what you can and feel good about that.
Whatever you do, DO NOT be too hard on yourself if you find it difficult to keep up your usual routine. Also, and this is very important- try not to compare yourself to others!
Some of you might even feel like you need a little break, and remember, that’s ok, too.
Adjust Your Goals
The drastic change to our daily schedules and routines, and the cancellation of dance classes and events means that we all need to adjust our goals and our way of thinking.
Use this time to readjust your goals or set new goals. Your new goals might include learning a new technical skill, perfecting a tricky move, working on your flexibility or strengthening your core, or even trying to hone your improv skills.
Try Something New
As dancers, we tend to spend our entire lives living and breathing dance. Dance takes up almost all of our spare time. With all of this new, empty time ahead of us to fill, you may start to feel a little bit lost and unproductive.
Instead of sitting around dreaming of being back in rehearsal, or lingering in sadness, use this time to try something new and be open-minded!
A few ideas could include:
Exploring your Improv skills using furniture or a piece of clothing as a stimulus!
Seek different types of music and see how you respond with movement to different beats, textures and flow.
Choreograph a solo! Try using a poem to help you find a theme you can dance about!
Collaborating with a friend to create a piece on Zoom!
Attempt new workouts that will help you strengthen your core!
Experiment with different styles of dance!
A few more ideas…
Explore other hobbies and skills that you’ve never had a chance to try before.
You might try cooking with your family, baking with mom, reading a new book, or perhaps take up drawing and painting.
As a dancer, you are a creative soul and an expressive person by nature. Use these amazing gifts to keep creating, learning more about who you are and what you love and celebrate finding new things that interest you!
Take a Risk! Step outside your comfort zone!
Keep Your Head Up
As everyone around you is probably always telling you, keep your shoulders back and your chin up! Remember, this hiatus period won’t last forever.
Remember, there are tons of people who love you and who care about you. If you need support, just ask!
Do what you need to do to stay active and sane while it lasts!
We are all in this together! Soon enough, we’ll all be back stronger than ever!
WE ARE DANCERS STRONG!!!
With Love and Gratitude,
Annie and the Breaking Bounds Team!