Safety Level

Big Potential, Part II









We originally ran this blog post in 2019 and here at the start of 2021, it felt like the perfect sentiment to revisit!

Here’s a fun fact for you: In dance, it is common class etiquette to applaud when groups take turns practicing combinations or when a student is asked to demonstrate.  We celebrate effort in this way, showing appreciation for being able to watch and learn from each other. At SDC, this classroom tradition of recognizing others is part of our classroom DNA.

Similarly, when a student achieves a goal—however big or small—we want to celebrate their success and encourage their classmates to do the same.  A dancer’s goal might have been to accomplish that clean double pirouette in jazz class or to finally earn their pointe shoes. Or it might have been acceptance to a particular summer intensive, or to be cast in a specific role in the school musical.

What we’ve noticed is that sometimes dancers feel as though their classmate’s success has taken away their own potential to succeed—and because of that, their confidence shrinks.  But when it comes to achievement, nothing could be further from the truth! Science actually tells us that more success happens when we encourage each other and celebrate those wins.

Shawn Achor, researcher and author of the book Big Potential, writes: 

“Simply celebrating a person or a team for their companionship, their strengths, their everyday contributions—no matter how small or seemingly insignificant—reinforces a more empowered self-image and helps them see a vivid image of themselves as someone who is worthy of happiness and success.”

This empowered self-image is what we’re all about at SDC.  We want dance to be the catalyst that propels our students forward in life, but it takes more than just the steps to make that happen.  Dance can serve this mission only when combined with an ecosystem of positive culture, resilient kids, supportive teachers, and accountability.

We want to help our students understand that lifting each other up is beneficial for everyone, not just the person who is in the spotlight at that moment.  Everyone’s potential rises when we choose to celebrate each other’s success! Through dance, and through each other’s wins, our students can see that each one of them has the power to achieve new goals.  

It’s affirming to see the scientific proof that being interconnected with each other, within our studio ecosystem, allows our students to thrive in dance and in life.  And we will continue to encourage this interconnectivity with the way our dancers complement each other’s strengths and work as a team during class. As Achor says in his book, pursuing greater potential and achieving success must not be a solo journey: “The conclusion of a decade of research is clear: It’s not faster alone; it’s better together.”

We couldn’t agree more, and we’re proud to raise up our dancers with this mindset!  Let’s hit the ground running this new year and do better together, even if when socially distant. 🙂

– Ms. Julie


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