Many people view dancing like a train. The train left the station and you’ve been on it for a while, but halfway through you want to get off. There are lots of reasons people get off the dance train. Reading through them might help you come to a decision or reassure you through a rough patch. Before you hang up your dancing shoes, check out these 6 common reasons people quit dancing school.
You Feel Stuck
One reason to get off the train is if it gets stuck and grinds to a halt. You expected this train to take you somewhere, but it’s stopped. If you aren’t making progress it can be frustrating, have you feeling insecure about your abilities and affecting your motivation. In life we always strive for perfection even though it’s impossible to achieve. And if you achieve a moment of perfection, it can’t be maintained indefinitely.
If you’re doing your best but feel stuck, that’s perfectly normal and you aren’t at fault. We all go through periods where it seems nothing goes right, but we persevere, because these down patches don’t last. When you were learning to walk you probably fell down fifty times before finally nailing it once. Like any physical activity, dance skill is achieved through repetition. You gain a skill through failing over and over and getting better over time. Perseverance pays off eventually.
Not Meeting Expectations
You expected this train to get you somewhere and so far it hasn’t. Whether it’s a level of flexibility, fitness, joy or competitive success, you may feel that your expectations haven’t been met by dance. Ballet schools aren’t for everyone. It’s okay if it doesn’t click with you as you thought it would. However, if you do feel like quitting because your expectations haven’t been met, make sure they were realistic to begin with. It could also be that an outside factor is getting in the way of your dance goals. Dancing might not bring you the joy you want if you’ve just been through heartache, or the level of success you want if your job is exhausting you. Speak with your teacher before deciding to quit. An outside, knowledgeable person will help you to clarify all of these things so you can make the right choice for you.
Communication with Your Teacher
The train’s ground to halt but talking to the driver seems more daunting than getting off. Dancing schools can be scary places. We know not everyone feels they can talk to their dance teacher. There are many types: some are stern, some sweet and supportive, some stressed, straight forward or seem busy. What they all will have in common is they will have seen students in your position before – or even been one themselves. They’re probably more scared of you than you are of them. Take the leap and speak to them privately. Share your concerns and they will almost certainly help. No matter what they say, the decision is still yours, but you will have explored all your options before making a choice.
Dancing Is Expensive
You paid a lot for this train ticket and it hasn’t taken you where you want to go. We understand dancing isn’t the cheapest activity. However, the value of anything is personal. Some people find cinema tickets expensive while others place a high value on two hours of focused escapism. Dancing is no different. Ask yourself what value you get from it. This could be health benefits, fitness, stress relief, flexibility, a sense of achievement, self-confidence, or pure joy. It could be all of these things or none. Would you rather put the money elsewhere? Talking this over with someone will help but asking yourself is the best way to figure it out.
Others on the train are making you uncomfortable and you want to get off at the next stop. This one is less common, but it does happen. Canadian dancing schools vary. Some are cliquey and have a culture of competition or being catty over who has the best dancewear. Others are more relaxed: everyone gets along or form small friendship groups with no one being left out. Things happen, people fall out and maybe you’re feeling isolated or singled out by unpleasant characters within the group. No doubt this is a horrible situation to find yourself in. But, if you love dancing, try not to associate the situation with the art.
Don’t let anyone steal your passion. There are always more options than there appear to be. You could change dance schools and be put in a nicer group. You may ride it out and wait for the people you don’t get on with to soften or get bored – depending on the situation. Or, you can speak to your dance teacher for advice. They’re not like a regular teacher or parent who might jump to action. They can make small changes within the studio or keep a closer eye on the situation without anyone else knowing.
Staying on the stuck train is stressful: you don’t know when you’ll get where you want to go or what twists the journey will take. Dancing can induce a lot of stress. Whether you’re being worked hard, have to dedicate a lot of your time, are exhausted or nervous about a competition, stress is inevitable. The stress may be temporary though. If it’s related to a specific competition that has a set date, then imagine the relief you’ll feel when it’s done, and you know you gave it your all.
Hard work can be stressful, but is it short term hard work for long term gain or just an ongoing grind? You naturally have a lot of questions in your head already but identifying if the stress is worth the reward is important. And again, to clear these questions out of your mind and reduce their effect, talk them over with your dance teacher or another dancer.
The Big Finish
So, what’s the conclusion here? How do we keep the train on track? Well, communicating with your dance instructor is clearly important. If you feel isolated, behind, stressed or like you’re not getting value from the class, they will understand and help. If you love dancing but have consistent issues with the class you’re in or just can’t get help from the teacher, maybe another dance school is the answer.
And, despite it being our metaphor, don’t view dancing as a train. Dancing is a journey and the journey is the whole point. No dance career, like life, is free of stalls, twists and turns, peaks, valleys, and tearful triumphs. If you’ve made a commitment to yourself that you love dancing and will be a dancer, embrace the journey.
Thanks for reading. If you’re thinking of quitting due to a hole in your leotard, check out our dance shop for the best dancewear in Canada. Struggling to find a good dance store near you? Our dance shoes, bodysuits, leotards and other clothing and accessories are available Canada-wide.