top of page


Dealing with the disappointment of not “placing” at a competition

Dancers, if you’ve attended a ballet competition and not “placed” while there, take heart! At a ballet competition, you enter knowing that not everyone will place or earn a scholarship. But it can still be disappointing when you do not earn that coveted recognition.

So what’s the best way to deal with that nagging feeling? Above all else, remember that participation in a ballet competition isn’t about just that one day; it’s also about the intense amount of preparation you’ve put in and the experience you attained during the event. The outcome is important, yes, but so is the pathway to get there!

Here are four key suggestions to help you navigate through disappointment and get your mindset back on track:

  • Stop comparing your personal journey to others' - Everyone’s progress through their ballet training is unique. It’s a natural thing to want to compare yourself to other people in your category, but the only true competition is within yourself, year after year. No two dancers will progress the exact same way, with the exact same outcomes. Appreciate your individuality!

  • Remember that results are reflective of one day - This is easier said than done of course. But it’s important to understand that the outcome of a competition is not cumulative over months or years; the results are about that one day’s performances, and the circumstances surrounding them. Don’t let the results of one day dictate your feelings moving forward.

  • Use this as a learning opportunity - Think of your competition results and feedback as fuel for growth. Use what you’ve learned to approach your teacher and make decisions about your training. Continue to increase your strengths and improve your growth areas so you can strive for specific, actionable goals before your next competition.

  • Decide never to give up - Never let your disappointment about results keep you from trying! You will develop a resilient mindset by bouncing back from disappointment with enthusiasm and a willingness to work even harder. Keep pushing yourself and commit to a positive attitude in every lesson and every rehearsal.

As you shift your thinking and get back to work in the classroom, remember that dealing with disappointment is something every ballet dancer encounters in their life. Your success in ballet is not about how many “wins” or “losses” you accumulate; it’s about how you handle them. You can overcome disappointment with the right perspective!

bottom of page