Jealousy is one of the many causes of the cliquishness and exclusion we see in our classes, on our competition teams and in our dance moms. And it can also inspire unrealistic comparison, attention-seeking behaviors and viral negativity within the studio. All of the above is exacerbated tenfold when dancers and parents take to social media.
Here are four simple ways to manage jealousy issues within your dance studio:
Acknowledge it. Jealousy is going to happen. It's a normal part of being a human. Teens know all of the lectures. Parents know they shouldn’t be getting jealous and pretending it doesn’t exist feeds the fire. Have an open and honest conversation about how jealousy negatively affects your dance studio culture. Then lead into...
Set realistic expectations. Ask teens & parents what their end game is. Do they want to be a professional dancer? On SYTYCD? Instagram famous? Are those realistic plans? Are they healthy goals? Why are they dancing? Reminding students of all the valuable skills they learn by being a dancer will keep them grounded and hopefully less concerned with comparing themselves to others. Remind them of their intrinsic value as human beings, dancers on your team, and members of your dance community.
Keep educating dance parents. Teachers are often afraid to confront parents with the reality of a student's ability because they are afraid they will lose them as students. Change the conversation to one of "educating". Remind parents how dance teaches children useful skills that make them successful, productive, employable adults. Dancers are disciplined, self-motivated, hard-working, and detail-oriented with strong time management skills. Dance is not all about being the best, always being center stage, winning awards or even about being a professional dancer who is Instagram famous or on a TV reality show.
Cultivate empathy and social awareness. Wingman has a team-bonding/trust-building activity which focuses on dancers identifying genuine strengths and weaknesses in themselves. Having an open and honest conversation around the fact that we all equally have weaknesses and strengths develops understanding. And understanding inspires empathy. And when we are able to empathize with others, we are more respectful towards them.
Our role as educators doesn't stop at a pirouette. We're lucky enough to have these dance families in our lives -- often for decades. Let's make sure they leave our studio understanding why dance is so incredibly important for their developing minds and bodies beyond any award, accolade or social media "like".
Take the POSITIVITY in your studio up a notchby Becoming a Wingman studio today!