(aka Fake it till you Make it)

The Impostor Ballerina

2015-03-15 01.17.19I used to feel like a fraud every time I wore a tutu during my 3 years at Rambert Dance School. We didn’t have to wear one often, only once a term for our Solo presentations, so I never learned to embrace the tutu and I never felt like I was ‘Ballerina’ enough to deserve wearing one.

Faking it

I was inspired by a wonderful Ted Talk by Amy Cuddy recently where she talks about how our body language shapes who we are. For example, when people feel powerful they naturally expand their bodies, and when people feel timid and insecure the opposite happens. In her talk she suggests ‘faking’ it. By positioning our bodies into powerful postures we can alter how we feel. Just 2 minutes of holding a ‘power pose’ (modelled below by the lovely Wonder Woman) we can build up how confident and powerful we feel.

Becoming it

wonder-woman-552109_1920Then it dawned on me; this is of course why we feel so good after dancing! When I teach my adult ballet class I spend a lot of the time in the middle of the room demonstrating the movements properly and with lots of energy, so that by the end I always feel much more confident and strong than I do before the class. I had never understood the reason why, but the relationship we have between our own body language and our feelings makes complete sense to me. This is why dancing makes us feel stronger, uplifted and powerful. We spread out into the space, travel and put our bodies into large shapes! Much more power-inducing than sitting hunched over our laptops and TVs!

Do it

ballet-335496_1920This practice of faking it till you make it can work in many areas. So to all of us taking part in lessons, be it Dance, Acting, Aerobics, anything! – let’s regularly put ourselves in the front row and join the first group to practice our exercises. Put our hand up to take a solo in a choir or music group. Stand up and say what we are burning to say. Do it till we believe it. Do it till it is second nature. Do it till we become it. We are not impostors. We belong here.

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2 thoughts on “Do it till you Become it.

  1. I once did some coaching with a snooker player who played at a pretty high level. Snooker in those days was not particularly professional and even the top competitions around the country were fairly casual affairs. Most players would turn up in jeans and shirts as there was no dress code at the levels just below the guys that you would see on TV.
    I remember him telling me about one player in particular who would turn up at a tournament dressed as if he was playing in the world championships. Unlike other players who would play a match and then hang out in the snooker hall until their next one, he would turn up to play his match dressed in waistcoat and bow tie, play and then leave the hall only returning when his next match was due. He was playing the part at every opportunity.
    The guy in question was called Peter Ebdon. He won the UK and World Championship in a career that has seen 330 breaks of 100 and he was only the second player to ever reach 2 maximum (147) breaks in competitive play. He has won around £3.5 million in prize money and it all began with his version of a tu-tu.

  2. Amazing. Thanks! I used to dislike this idea as ‘faking it’ didn’t sit quite right with me. But I realise now it’s just about being what you want and believing in that. And doing it. Now!

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