Dance Life Coaching

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A Column To Help Dancers Journey In Life
By Susan Silva


What is False Evidence Appearing Real? The first letter of these four words is your answer:

FEAR! In today’s world fear seems to be gripping people and nations daily. We hear of earthquakes, tsunamis, radiation leaks, terrorism, famine, and diseases continuously; yet through all of this it is crucial to not allow fear to dominate our lives. It comes in many forms and ways. Here are some of them: Fear of failure especially in your dancing, Fear of not having enough money, Fear of losing your job, Fear of not having enough time, Fear of losing your health or having an injury, Fear of flying, Fear of heights, Fear of bridges, Fear of terrorism, Fear of being alone, Fear of rejection, Fear of confrontation, Fear of getting old, Fear of the future, and the biggest and root of all Fears is the Fear of dying.

Fear can take over a person’s life, and completely control every decision made, including our dance decisions. Destinies are destroyed because of fear. Don’t let fear keep you from the wonderful dance life journey ahead of you. Even when you feel afraid, don’t let it stop you, you might have to do it afraid. We may feel fearful when we are doing something we have never done before, or when the obstacles seem insurmountable, or when we don’t have the natural help we feel we need. I can remember feeling fearful when learning a new overhead lift, yet I managed to master it each time. The more we practiced the new lift, the easier it became. Another good habit to practice is deep breathing, especially before you are going to perform or compete. This helps you to focus and calm your nerves.

All of us as dancers have what sometimes is called butterflies in our stomach before we perform or compete. You have heard the term, “stage fright”, and for some it really can be a problem. I remember one of my pro-am students at one of the competitions he was dancing in had such fear that he never came out of his room. Another time he actually was in the middle of his competitive heat, and he blanked out so bad he ran off the dance floor and left me standing there. I still had to give him credit for trying.

Dr. Caroline Leaf, in her book, “Who Switched Off My Brain”, notes that fear, “triggers more than 1,400 known physical and chemical responses, activates more than 30 different hormones and neurotransmitters” and that fear is at the root of all stress. When fear causes a stress reaction through our bodies, it actually saturates the body in toxic chemicals, which is unhealthy and threatening to our physical well-being. Of course when in a life threatening situation, like an accident, our bodies go into what is called a fight or flight reaction, which is normal. But if we are constantly in this state of fight or flight then eventually our physical bodies will be affected. Learning to deal with fear and anxiety is crucial to our health, and overall life.

There are ways to Overcome Fear! One of the key areas is to retrain our mind and thought patterns. Many of us have fear thoughts that can stem from our childhood, or are passed down from our families. If Fear is something you need to overcome I encourage you to try some of the steps that I am going to suggest, and implement them into your daily life. First is to think positive power thoughts like: “ I will not live in fear”, “I refuse to fear”, “I will not fear competitions or performing in front of people”, or make up one of your own positive power thoughts. Then write a power thought down that is the opposite of the fear, carry it with you, and even put it on different notes throughout your house. Years ago when I had Lyme disease and was in a wheel chair, I had to battle the fear that I would not get better or even be able to walk or dance again. I found a beautiful scripture from the book of Psalms, “You turned my mourning into dancing.” I put dance pictures of myself, and this scripture around my house. Then I quoted the scripture for months, believing and trusting God’s Word would come to pass and it did. It is a known fact that hearing what we say out of our own mouths is what we come to believe the most. In the book of Proverbs it states, “Death and life is in the power of our tongue.”

If we study fear in all the different realms it occurs; you will find that at its root is Control. I am not talking about self-control, which is a good thing. The control I am referring to is one that influences others, and most times you do not even know you are being controlled, it becomes the norm. This type of control is in all forms of society, business, government, education, medicine, the arts, and even our ballroom industry. There are leaders in all walks of life from dictatorships to different types of organizations that do not want to lose their positions of control and power. They will try to intimidate you, threaten you, which brings fear. This is where you must overcome the fear, stand up and be bold. When something is not right, you cannot be cowardly, have a voice and speak up. Many times you need to discern what are the real motives behind the decisions being made. Is it for the good of the industry or for personal gain? You will never be able to please everyone; most important is to stand up for truth and integrity.

In 1967 the Beatles released a song titled “All You Need Is Love”, which was at the top of billboard charts for eleven consecutive weeks. Their manager at the time stated, “they really wanted to give the world a message, it is a clear message saying that love is everything.” The simple chorus of this song repeats the words: “all you need is love...” This is a message that our world and all of us need to hear. But the Beatles did not invent the idea “all we need is love”, over 6000 years ago God gave us the Ten Commandments in tablets of stone. The same first two commandments of the original ten, 2000 years ago Jesus taught. He said that the first and greatest commandment is “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.” He then said the second is equally important: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you do not believe God loves you it is impossible to love God, and you cannot love your neighbor if you don’t love yourself first.

Looking at this through the eyes of our Dance Industry, do we love each other and want the best for the other dancer, competitor, coach, organizer, and all the other dance organizations? Or are we more interested in “What’s in it for me?” There is a scripture in the bible that states: “Perfect love casts out fear, because fear has torment”. This type of love takes work, life-long work. So what does that mean for you and me? It’s simple—not easy. If I learned to love God, how differently would my priorities look? If I was able to love everyone (not just the people I like), how differently would my relationships look? So an even more powerful way to Overcome Fear is with LOVE!
Remember: Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real-Don’t Believe It!
Susan Silva is an NDCA National Championship Certified Adjudicator in all styles of Ballroom Dance plus the Performing Arts. Former Theatrical, Exhibition, and American Style Champion. Broadway, Television, and Film Performer, toured with the Beatles in the mid 60’s, Author of a Theatrical Ballroom Syllabus, Choreographer & Lecturer. Available for judging, lectures, choreography, and coaching. Susan is also a Personal Dance Life Coach, and ordained minister able to counsel people in all areas of life. Counseling is done by e-mail, phone, skype, or in person. She is now located in Palm Beach, Florida. Contact Info: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,, ph: 860-984-8387

  • Report by:: Susan Silva

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