Nadine Kaslow, a psychologist who works with dancers at Atlanta Ballet, offers tips for creating a more body-positive studio experience:
1. Ditch the Mirrors.
Kaslow recommends that teachers lead class with the mirrors covered once in a while. If this isn’t possible, try taking a break from constantly assessing your reflection throughout class. Think of the mirror as a tool to rehearse your relationship with the audience rather than as an outlet to scrutinize your shape.
2. Drown Out the Noise.
“Dancers will hear comments their teachers make, what their parents say, what someone else’s parents say, and every little comment can grow into a big picture,” says Kaslow. But no one’s opinion is as valuable as your own. Your own self-encouragement is more significant than the chatter on the periphery.
3. Don’t Forget Your Strengths.
Remember that the best dancers aren’t lauded for how much they weigh. “Appreciate what your body brings to the table,” Kaslow says.
4. Talk About It.
Acknowledge that everyone needs a little help with their confidence, and that you aren’t alone when it comes to insecurities about your body. “Oftentimes, people don’t come for help until they have an outright eating disorder,” Kaslow warns. If you normalize healthy conversations about self-image with your peers and colleagues, it can help stop an insecurity from turning into something more harmful.
This article originally appeared on Dance Magazine.