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News: Resource Papers

Resource Paper: Perfectionism

Monday, April 21, 2014  

“Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing.”  Harriet Braiker

As audiences, we are amazed by feats we could not hope to achieve ourselves and we applaud them. Newspaper reviews often use the words “perfect” or “flawless” to indicate that something desirable has occurred in a dance performance. Perhaps in recognition that a dancer needs to strive to great heights and work hard before he or she can perform well, teachers sometimes try to inspire students to perfection. It is not surprising, then, that goals of perfection may appear both admirable and desirable. But is perfection or excellence most advantageous? Is there a difference between the two and, if so, what might it mean for dancers and for those who teach them? In this paper current ideas about perfectionism, including its positive and negative aspects, are described first. This is followed by an outline of pertinent research into the relationships that perfectionism has with a range of well- and ill-being indicators. The paper also addresses the issue of perfectionism among teachers, as well as students and dancers, and finishes with recommendations for practice.  Read more...

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