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You Are More Than Your Pirouette

For a long time, I let my self-worth be dictated by how well I was dancing.

Perhaps this is something you relate to. After years of pouring your time, heart, and soul into

dance, how could your dancing not influence how you feel about yourself? It is a fine balance

between caring about your dancing and letting it dictate your life.

Seemingly out of nowhere, I found myself in a place where how well I was dancing, what my

teachers thought, whether I got the job or the role determined how I felt about myself. It

mattered more than anything else.

Your worth is intrinsic to your being, not your dancing.

I remember a teacher who once told me: “Your arms, all wrong. Your legs, all wrong. Your head,

all wrong. What’s left? Nothing!” There are many concerning things about that statement (not

to mention that there is nothing constructive in that feedback) but the most alarming is where

she said “what’s left? Nothing.” That is 100% false. Even if my arms, legs, and head were “all

wrong” – I would still have my personhood, soul, spirit, and life left.

Just as a newborn is worthy simply in their being; so are you. It can help to reframe your

identity to person first language. Rather than always being a dancer; sometimes you can simply

be a person who dances. With the ever-present fear of injury, retirement, or rejection, this

language helps. You might even find yourself dancing more freely knowing that if you were to

lose it, you wouldn’t lose yourself.

A correction doesn’t mean ‘you’re wrong’ or even ‘your dancing is wrong,’ it is simply ‘here’s a

tool that might help.’ Dancing is not so black and white, good or bad, wrong or right.

We all fall down sometimes, we all get hurt, we all have bad days. This does not mean you’re a

bad dancer, person, or a failure. It simply means you had a bad day.

In separating your worth from your dancing, you are able to constructively take feedback as just

that, feedback. It gives you space to hear it, apply it, and practice it; without taking it


Falling out of a pirouette is just that, falling out of a pirouette. It means nothing more and

nothing less. You are more than your pirouette.

Happy dancing,

Danielle Burton, MD

Follow her on Instagram: @DancinDrDanielle

Danielle Burton is a former ballerina turned MD. She is a guest speaker for my Virtual Summer Intensive 2021. Her LIVE course & Zoom recording of "Mental Health for Dancers" will be included in the purchase of the intensive. Danielle will end with a 10 minute Q&A. Click here to register!

The Zoom recording of "Mental Health for Dancers" will be available for individual purchase. All proceeds of the recording purchases go to Danielle Burton.


The information provided is for educational purposes only, and does not substitute for

professional medical advice. These views are my own and are not affiliated with any institution. Please consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you are seeking medical advice,

diagnoses, or treatment.

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Jul 07, 2021

This was really interesting thank you!!

Danielle Burton
Danielle Burton
Jul 07, 2021
Replying to

You're welcome :) Glad you liked it!


Teri Westerman
Teri Westerman
Jul 07, 2021

Brilliant! All part of the reason for Spoke N Motion Dance!❤️

Replying to

I love that & agree! Thanks so much for reading! Danielle is great!

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