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Dance Intensives: Dealing with Jealousy

So, think you’re hot stuff? Then get ready for a generous slice of humble pie – well-established dance intensives draw talent from around the world, and almost certainly, someone is going to show you up.

It’s not that you secretly wish they would fall and break something (I hope). It’s simply that they have the ‘thing’ – the perfect grande jete, the hottest Latin hip action, or the best hip hop swagger. They have it, and you don’t.

The irony is these feelings are exactly the sort of distraction that can keep from from doing your best at the intensive, which leaves you feeling even more envious of others.

I’ve been there. Heck I’m STILL there, with a lot of things. Some intensives I didn’t even finish, because I was so upset with how I measured up compared to others. But over time, I’ve learned to change my mindset so they don’t get to me so much anymore. Here’s how I did that.

Refocus on your OWN progress. When we focus on how our peers are doing, we often forget to notice our own progress. This robs us of the pleasure of growing, because we’ve already decided that’s not good enough. Aim to beat your personal best, not anyone else’s.

Flip the feeling on it’s head. Break the momentum of jealousy by changing your perspective to something ludicrous. For example, you might imagine everyone in the class is secretly jealous of YOU, and busting out their best moves just to impress you! It might seem silly, but it will also get you laughing at yourself for getting so worked up.

Let them teach you. They say you can’t engage your emotional and logical brain at the same time – that means you can’t waste time being upset if you’re analyzing someone’s moves and trying to figure out how you can do it too.

Let them inspire you. Many of us have negative scripts that start playing on autopilot when others are around: “I’ll never be as good as her. He’s so smooth – I bet he started when he was three.” These scripts only make you feel worse, so practice noticing and replacing them with something positive: “Wow, they looked awesome! I can’t wait until I’m that good!”

Keep. Moving. Forward. Sometimes, the best thing we can do is swallow our pride and simply refuse to give up. Pushing to the end of the class, sends a message to those negative emotions that you aren’t going to let them stop you – and that weakens them.

We’ve covered a lot of ground on intensives this past month. Next week, we’re finishing with perhaps the most important part of all: Coping with burnout.

About the Author

Ian Crewe has been dancing ballroom for over 18 years, and has a Licentiate in American smooth and rhythm. His passion for dance eventually led him to blogging and the World Wide Web. Ian currently teaches at the Joy of Dance Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada.

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