Maintaining Motivation from Vito Bernasconi —

To make it to a professional level as a dancer, it takes dedication and discipline, as well as many years of training, to reach the top. In the same way that artists and athletes do, dancers have to embrace repetition as we strive to be at our best, and this is where finding the spark to maintain motivation becomes really important.

The recent Rio Olympics coverage reminded me of ‘the black line’ that swimmers often speak of – that strip of black paint that fills their view as they train. They follow that line and repeat stroke after stroke until they develop better technique and achieve better times. Ballet is not dissimilar. Some dancers test themselves through competitions, but for all of us, there is a constant quest to achieve the next step, to strive for better, to compete against yourself.

From Monday to Friday, and for some of us Saturday too, the dancers at Queensland Ballet begin the day with Company class. Like any vocabulary, the steps don’t change (and haven’t for many years), but the changing sequence in which they are strung together in class is the key to keeping us on our toes and constantly thinking. Performing the same thing over and over… and over, may become tiresome or boring for some, but rather than seeing it simply as routine, I really enjoy the ritual of daily class.

I constantly look for ways to improve and find it interesting to discover new things about the way my body develops day-to-day and over time. Class can become quite meditative, a way to focus your breath, become more aware of your body and tune in to that internal frequency, so you can be at your best. We do what we do, to be better every day.

One of the easiest ways to stay motivated is to also remember why you started to dance, the feelings that first drew you to this art form. Whether it was the music, wanting to be in the spotlight, or even having somewhere to move beautifully – it could be anything really – but if you stay focused on that core reason behind why you started, you’ll always find motivation through your love of dance.