(aka Fake it till you Make it)
The Impostor Ballerina
I 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.
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.
Then 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!
This 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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