Getty Images

Ask Amy: How to Build Self-Confidence and Know Your Worth

This story originally appeared in the June/July 2015 issue of Pointe.

I've been receiving soloist parts in my company, but I just don't think I'm as good as my colleagues. I know I wouldn't receive these opportunities if my director didn't think I deserved them, but I can't get my confidence up—and I'm afraid I'll seem ungrateful or that I have a poor work ethic. Should I talk to my director? Lizzy


I feel you. I struggled with low self-confidence during my early career, and it definitely had a negative effect on my work. Your self-worth can only stem from one person: you. Personally, I think it's unwise to go to your director seeking reassurance and sympathy—he or she obviously trusts your abilities. Besides, allowing others to define your self-worth creates an unstable source of security. If your director senses that you need constant encouragement, he or she may grow impatient and eventually lose confidence in you, too.

Practice acknowledging and feeling thankful for your talent. Make time to recognize three or four accomplishments you achieve each day—write them down in a notebook so you can physically see (and reread) them. When a rehearsal goes well or you receive a great role, don't write it off as a fluke. Consciously remind yourself that it's a result of your skills and hard work. And if someone pays you a compliment, listen. Acknowledge that you've made a positive impact and say “thank you."

Secondly, try to get out of your own head. If you start getting discouraged, interrupt those negative feelings by distracting yourself, before they consume you. Talk to a friend who makes you laugh, take a trip to the water fountain, focus on the music (instead of the mirror). Take pride in your other qualities, such as your intelligence. And have some perspective. I used to grow so frustrated with myself that I'd quit halfway through combinations. Finally my teacher said, “Amy, it's just ballet. It's not going to feed the homeless." And he's right: In the grand scheme of things, ballet isn't worth getting so worked up about.

Have a question? Send it to Pointe editor in chief and former dancer Amy Brandt at askamy@dancemedia.com.

Latest Posts


Gavin Smart, Courtesy ROH

Calling All Ballet Lovers! World Ballet Day 2020 Is on October 29

While very little about this year has felt normal, we're excited to share that one of the dance community's landmark events is returning despite the pandemic. October 29 marks World Ballet Day 2020.

This year's iteration of the annual social media extravaganza features three of the world's leading companies: The Royal Ballet, The Australian Ballet and the Bolshoi Ballet. Additional participating companies, which include American Ballet Theatre, Houston Ballet, National Ballet of Canada and Boston Ballet, have just been announced. Last year's World Ballet Day was the biggest yet, reaching over 315 million social media users around the world.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Yan Revazov, Courtesy Staatsballett Berlin

How Staatsballett Berlin Pulled Off "Giselle" in the Age of Coronavirus

It's 8:24 am on a Tuesday. Even though morning class isn't for another hour and a half, Daniil Simkin is already at Staatsballett Berlin's studios; tests for the coronavirus, a biweekly requirement to dance with his partner, Iana Salenko, need to be submitted before 8:30 am—an inconvenient time, if you ask him. "It's annoying, but I'm just really grateful to be performing again," he says. "You do what you have to do."

Staatsballett Berlin has been back onstage since August. Return has been slow and steady, with dancers first performing solos or pas de deux (composed of people who already live together) in galas. On October 28, the company presented an adapted version of Patrice Bart's Giselle, its first full-length production since March. Pointe took a virtual behind-the-scenes tour to learn what goes into mounting a ballet during a pandemic, including safety precautions, adjustments to choreography, and what it feels like to be back onstage.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Ava Rikki, Courtesy Mondesire

I'll Never Forget My First Pair of Flesh-Tone Tights

I remember when I encountered the color cinnamon. Such warmth and comfort instantly saturated my soul. It was the summer of 2015, a time I will never forget, and I was trying on my first pair of flesh-tone tights. The band fit perfectly on my waist with such a calm gentleness. They were tights that looked like me—not ballet pink, the color that many were taught could be the only one in the ballet world. It was me, all the way from my head to my toes. No breaks, perfect continuity.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks