Passion, Pressure & Rock Bottom – The Confessions of a Professional Dancer
I have been dancing since I was 2.5 years old, and even though I had short stints with other sports like baseball & volleyball, dance has always been my number one passion.
I was never the most flexible or had the best technique, my superpower was my ability to perform. When I got on stage, I was always smiling from ear to ear. I was in my element.
After competing with my local dance studio all the way through high school, I went to George Brown College and studied acting, singing and dancing – training to be a triple threat.
My Passion Became My Career
Within 3 months of graduating, I had officially turned my passion into a career – I was hired by a major cruise line to dance in their production shows.
Although I was doing what I loved as a career, it was not all sunshine and rainbows.
I was surrounded by hundreds of cultures & languages which was simultaneously amazing, overwhelming, and eye opening.
Being only 20 years old at the time, it was the first time I had been away from home and my family for more than 5 days.
The rehearsals were relentless, lasting anywhere from 9 to 12 hours a day.
I was excited, yet homesick all at the same time.
The Dark Side of Being a Professional Dancer
I felt such pride in myself for making it as a Professional Dancer, but with pride came new levels of pressure and expectations.
I felt the pressure to be flawless not only on stage, but off stage as well. Even during my off-time, hair & makeup always needed to be done.
I felt insecure during weekly weigh-ins. I would line up with my cast as the supervisor would write down our weight to be sent to head office, knowing if my weight fluctuated too much, I would get a weight warning & be removed from shows.
I became very aware of when and what I was eating leading into shows. I started making unhealthy choices on food & workouts, punishing my body & blaming it on being the reason I didn’t get the feature roles in shows.
I started heavily comparing myself to my cast mates, sometimes even resenting them when they would get roles in the shows I wanted.
I started feeling a sense of entitlement, that I was “owed” ships I requested or parts in shows because I had been around for 5 years.
I started blaming my supervisors and felt they gave roles to other cast members because they liked them better than me.
I started doubting who I was as a performer and what I had to offer.
I was blaming everything & everyone else, not taking responsibility for my part in making the necessary consistent effort needed to be at my best.
Eventually, I got so in my head and down on myself that I walked away.
I gave up on my passion.
Hitting Rock Bottom
I was 25 years old, back home, unsure of my next move and feeling completely defeated. For the first time in my life, I wasn’t a performer.
I gained an unhealthy amount of weight until I was my heaviest and completely unmotivated to go to the gym.
I watched my friends move on to new chapters of their lives; getting married or having babies and I felt I was falling behind.
I hit rock bottom. I was unhappy, unhealthy, and still comparing myself to others.
The Moment of Realization
I was working at Lululemon during my time at home. One exercise they had us do was visualize my life in two, five, and ten years in the future. I struggled to follow that guideline.
All I wanted to do was get back to being proud of myself.
I then found a picture of myself from my favourite show on cruises and knew I wanted to build my vision for my life around the feelings it has captured.
I was enjoying the moment. I was strong & centered, confident, proud, calm, and happy.
This was my wake up call.
When I was a professional dancer, I had been so in my head & completely lost my connection to performing. When I was younger, I never worried about anyone except myself and the work I put into practices or performances. I had fun on stage.
I realized it wasn’t the environment that had needed to change, it was my mindset.
Reconnecting to My Love of Performing
I started putting myself back out there in the entertainment industry and was hired by another production company and did a couple contracts on land and close to home. I kept putting in the work for my diet & exercise in a healthy way and fell in love with going to the gym. I started to take pride in my body.
I then got back in touch with the cruise line and said I was ready to come back. When I got into rehearsals, I didn’t focus on anyone except myself. I asked questions to my supervisors to better myself and improve, but I didn’t let it affect my confidence in what I had to offer.
I fell in love with being on stage again.
I spent the next 5 years never taking a minute of rehearsals or being on stage for granted. I was not only recognized for my positive attitude and was nominated for Team Member of the Month, but also for my leadership and was offered a Cast Manager position.
A New Chapter
When I signed off my contract in March 2020, the plan was to have a few months at home and then head back to my 11th contract in May as the Cast Manager, but the pandemic had other plans.
Despite the world’s shutdown, my mindset was in the right place from falling back in love with dance, performing, and movement. I decided to start a social media account dedicated to sharing at-home workouts to keep myself motivated, but also to help others stay motivated during a challenging time.
This ultimately led me to launching a fitness business on my 30th birthday.
I then found Dr. Preston & CEP Mindset and knew that I needed to be a part of a team that helped other high-performers overcome similar mental struggles to my own.
I also found a new way to use my superpower by joining a Dance Team with the National Lacrosse League.
Now, as a part of the CEP Team, I get to help other performers develop these tools and strategies so they can achieve Consistent Elite Performance, and most importantly never lose touch with their love of performing.