“While dancers have a higher pain tolerance than the average person, we are not superhuman. We are not without need of things like acceptance, love, recognition, and purpose. In fact, like the art form itself, our needs actually become extreme and disproportionate, but instead of calling it a problem, we call it dedication. A dancer is silent, their movements speak for them.
Without a voice, the game becomes about catching eyes. Without these eyes, you are insignificant and probably out of a job. Many dancers that I know, including myself when I was in that environment, cannot function with less than constant praise. It’s not always given, but it’s always needed and it’s always in the back of our minds. Such a feedback loop, in which your career is dependent on how pretty, skinny, talented, or flashy you are, creates extreme insecurity in every sense.”