Write Your Way to Stress Relief


As a dancer, you're used to communicating without words, so it might sound funny to suggest writing as a method for reducing stress and anxiety. But especially if dance is the cause of your stress—maybe you're struggling with choreographer's block, anxious about a big performance or doubting yourself after a frustrating audition—exploring the situation through a different medium might help you gain fresh perspective. Plus, studies have shown that keeping a journal can have many dancer-friendly benefits. Here are just a few:

1. Get your creative juices flowing. Journaling, when used as a way to reflect or meditate on something, has been shown to help boost creativity and self-awareness. Maybe it's your way out when you're stuck in a choreographic rut.

2. Improve performance.
In a University of Chicago study, students wrote down their thoughts right before a high-pressure exam. Their scores improved significantly, especially for the students who regularly felt anxious about test-taking. Next time you're nervous before a performance, try jotting down a few notes about how you're feeling.

3. Increase self esteem. A study from the University of Leeds found that young women who wrote about their experiences with negative body image had improved levels of self esteem when the researchers followed up four weeks later. If you're doubting yourself, taking the space to wrestle with those feelings on the page may be just what you need to change your outlook.

Latest Posts

Left to right: Dance Theatre of Harlem's Daphne Lee, Amanda Smith, Lindsey Donnell and Alexandra Hutchinson in a scene from Dancing Through Harlem. Derek Brockington, Courtesy Dance Theatre of Harlem

Dancers Share Their Key Takeaways After a Year of Dancing on Film

Creating dances specifically for film has become one of the most effective ways that ballet companies have connected with audiences and kept dancers employed during the pandemic. Around the world, dance organizations are finding opportunities through digital seasons, whether conceiving cinematic, site-specific pieces or filming works within a traditional theater. And while there is a consistent sentiment that nothing will ever substitute the thrill of a live show, dancers are embracing this new way of performing.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Liam Scarlett with Marianela Nuñez and Ryoichi Hirano during a rehearsal of his Swan Lake at The Royal Ballet. Andrej Uspenski, Courtesy ROH

Choreographer Liam Scarlett Has Died

Over the weekend, news broke that 35-year-old choreographer Liam Scarlett, a former artist in residence at The Royal Ballet, died suddenly at his home in England. "It is with great sadness that we announce the tragic, untimely death of our beloved Liam," Scarlett's family said in a brief statement. "At this difficult time for all of our family, we would ask that you respect our privacy to enable us to grieve our loss."

The cause of death was not disclosed.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

#TBT: Mikhail Baryshnikov in "Fancy Free" (1981)

In Jerome Robbins's 1944 ballet Fancy Free, three sailors on leave spend the day at a bar, attempting to woo two young women by out-dancing and out-charming one another. In this clip from 1981, Mikhail Baryshnikov, who was then both the artistic director of American Ballet Theatre and a leading performer with the company, pulls out all the stops to win the ladies' affections.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks