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The Perils Of Perfection

The Perils of Perfection - Dance A Lot Blog



Happy Spring! Now that the winter that wasn’t (for many of us) has left and the warmer, longer days have started to arrive, I hope you are enjoying our beautiful Spring weather. It also means that I am in the home stretch (or crunch time) to perform my showcase in June at the Dance A Lot Annual Showcase “Dancing Stars 2023”.

As you may remember from previous blogs, I schedule a practice session every day to work on a specific portion of my current showcase. I have detailed dance notes on steps, timing, arms, etc. and try to work on at least a small portion of the dance daily. I found the perfect place to practice with mirrors, a dance floor, and no distractions. I did not have the opportunity for dance lessons when I was younger so what may come naturally to some dancers takes a lot of practice for me.

As with most everyone, I am looking for perfection, or as close to it as possible, in my dancing and life in general. But sometimes striving for perfectionism can prevent me from dancing my best or enjoying the process. After a frustrating practice session, I stumbled on the Dark Side of Perfection podcast, and it really hit home for me. While perfectionism is a driving force to becoming the best dancer you can be, it may not allow you to appreciate all you have already accomplished and may also affect you physically and mentally.

In general, perfectionists procrastinate because they feel it is all or nothing and put off practicing until it can all be danced without a flaw. During my practice sessions, I would stop each time I made a mistake and start again and again which meant I didn’t always cover all the material I wanted to during the practice session, and it showed during my dance lessons.

While there is always room for improvement, a perfectionist does not know when enough is enough, and is constantly looking to improve a specific element of their dance rather than also enjoying what is going right. As you can imagine, this can also cause burnout and low self esteem when you are never satisfied until it is perfect, and there is no way you can repeat the perfect dance again and again.

Perfection can get in the way of creativity because you have a fear of failure. Did you ever have a happy mistake that made something better, like switching ingredients in the kitchen, painting, etc? This has accidentally happened to me numerous times during my dance lessons and frequently made the showcase better.

So, after all the negative aspects of perfectionism, what are my plans for practicing and life in general? I have decided to let the mistakes happen and just continue my practice. I will work toward having high performance, motivated practice sessions with attention to detail with no pressure or stress. I am going to embrace the happy mistakes with grace and an open mind and enjoy the ride. I will let you know how this is going in my next blog. Wish me luck!

Mary’s practicing room, when not at Dance A Lot Ballroom Studio.


The Dark Side of Perfection — Ballroom State of Mind by Amber Haider

Theme: Perfectionism

About Mary: Mary has been dancing since 2006. She loves dancing Cha Cha, Rumba, and Swing, but her favorite thing is to do showcases. With her husband Joe, they spend their time enjoying the retired life at the Jersey shore, golfing, traveling, and attending rock concerts.

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