Have you ever felt like you’ve lost motivation at the end of the school year or dance season?
You know, that end-of-the-year-feeling when summer is so close you can almost taste it, and suddenly all of your responsibilities don’t seem as important anymore...
At some point in our lives, most of us probably have felt the carefree attitude of “senioritis” creep in towards the end of a long school year or as our final recital approaches.
Although senioritis is a common feeling that many young people experience, it’s extremely important, as dancers, to remain attentive and diligent through the end of the dance year or season. Usually, by the time the summer months comes around, we have been constantly taking class, rehearsing, and performing; our bodies and minds are exhausted.
Have you heard the statistic that 1 in 3 car accidents happens within a mile from home?
Part of this is attributed to the comfort zone we subconsciously enter when we are so close to home. When we let our guard down, unintended consequences may result. The same reasoning could be applied to the end of a dance season; we might begin to rely on muscle memory or lose concentration in class, which could affect our performance and possibly cause injury. Most dancers are extremely hard-working and dedicated, but when school is coming to an end and summer is in the air, even the most dedicated dancers can lose focus.
How do you fight symptoms of senioritis in the dance studio?
It’s extremely important to continue giving yourself something to work toward, whether it is your final recital, an upcoming summer intensive, or something as “small” as correcting your placement at the barre. The sense of purposelessness is a major culprit in developing senioritis in the first place, so maintaining a concrete objective is key. For example, choose a new technical element to focus on every week to help keep your mind active and engaged. Try working on your petit allegro first, then move on to pirouettes a week or two later. Listen to your body; being in tune with ourselves and how our muscles are working (or not working) is important for injury prevention. When we don’t use the correct muscles, other muscles might compensate which could also lead to injury.
Senioritis is real, and a decline in motivation at the end of a dance season is hard to fight. With a slight shift in attention and focus, we can better maintain a sense of purpose and make it through the end successfully, injury-free, and summer intensive ready.