StEPS: The Challenge of Seeking Approval in Performing Arts

Approval in Performing Arts

StEPS: The Challenge of Seeking Approval in Performing Arts

In the exciting world of performing arts, artists are always working hard to perfect their craft, pouring their heart into every performance. Yet, behind the bright lights and applause, there's a complex battle for approval going on—a battle that's as much about pleasing others as it is about staying true to oneself. Ashley Mowrey dives deep into this struggle, looking at the differences between seeking approval from the outside world and finding satisfaction in one's own achievements.

Welcome to Beyond the StEPS

The Hunt for Outside Approval: A Risky Game

For performing artists, being in the spotlight means their work is constantly judged by others. Things like applause, positive reviews, awards, and even social media likes are often seen as proof of success. But relying too much on this kind of approval can be dangerous. It might lead to artists valuing themselves only through others' eyes, chasing after compliments and feeling down if they don't come.

Ashley points out how risky it is for artists to base their worth on what others think, warning that it can take away from the real joy of creating art. External approval is great when it happens, but it's unpredictable and can make artists worry too much about failing or not being liked, which might stop them from trying new and bold ideas.

Finding Strength in Self-Approval

Unlike the short-lived thrill of outside approval, valuing your own work gives a lasting sense of pride and achievement. This inner approval is about recognizing your own effort and progress, and valuing your art for what it is, not what others think of it. Mowrey encourages artists to focus on this inner voice, as it helps them take chances, stay true to their style, and feel fulfilled, no matter the outside response.

Building this kind of self-approval takes some soul-searching and kindness towards oneself, celebrating personal victories and learning from any slip-ups. It means setting your own goals and measuring success by your own standards, which can help artists maintain a strong sense of self through the ups and downs of their career.

Balancing Both Types of Approval

The goal isn't to choose between seeking approval from others or oneself but to find a healthy balance between the two. Outside approval can motivate and connect artists to their audience, but a solid sense of self-approval lets them handle criticism without losing confidence.

Ashley’s advice is about being mindful and self-aware, and surrounding oneself with people who support your true self. By valuing both external and internal approval and focusing more on the latter, artists can enjoy a rewarding career, defined not by the recognition they get but by the joy of creation and personal growth.

The Importance of Self-Approval in the Arts

Ultimately, being a performing artist is as much about discovering and valuing oneself as it is about winning over an audience. By welcoming both types of approval, artists can navigate the emotional highs and lows of their field with grace and strength. It's crucial to remember that outside praise is temporary, but self-worth comes from within.

Reflecting on Ashley Mowrey's wisdom, let's salute the performers who bravely share their gifts, despite the challenges. Their journey teaches us all a valuable lesson about seeking approval, reminding us to anchor ourselves in our own sense of value amid a sea of external opinions.

To all artists and creators, know this: Your value doesn't come from the applause you receive but from the passion, resilience, and authenticity you pour into your art. Cherish your path to self-approval, for it's here that your true talent shines the brightest.

Continue your Education for yourself and your students with the StEPS Initiative Course!

About the StEPS Initiative Course

This course started in part with our charity event we created to save dance studios. Then we decided to keep it a free resource for the dance community. You can learn all about it below.

As part of our commitment to education and creating a safe space for all dancers, we are excited to introduce the StEPS Initiative Course. This has been curated by Apolla and donated from experts and professionals in each topic. 

Our goal in creating this course is to give dance teachers continuing education/professional development, give dancers the power of education, and provide parents the knowledge to see red flags. Each section has actionable items that can unite dance studios focused on equity and creating a safe space for every dancer. This course gives evidence-based information, some perspective & qualitative information, dance history, and further resources that can help you learn something new that helps progress and strengthen your studio OR solidify what you already have in place. There is something for everyone! 

This course is free for EVERYONE (Apolla has covered the cost and the presenters have donated the course content). These are meant to be introductions and actionable items for you. We know this is not a silver bullet to fix every issue or topic that needs to be addressed in dance. Each topic is deep and broad on its own. However, we aim for this to be the first step for some of us in these topics and even serves as a small catalyst for change in our industry. You will see there are also many resources that can allow you to expand your journey further in any of the subjects. With all that 2020 has thrown at all of us, we are determined to heal through listening, grow from adversity through action, and rise up by bringing everyone together. In the end, we will create a space open wide for the new generation of artists and athletes to ring in the new decade stronger and safer than ever!

Watch our Beyond the StEPS Episode on: “How do internal and external validation affect performing artists?” With our hosts Bri and Melissa, and special guest Ashley Mowrey*!

*Ashley Mowrey is a former competitive dancer, dance educator, and competition company director. Now as a Mindset Coach, she helps dancers build a healthy mindset so they can shine on and off the stage. Ashley works with dancers through 1-1 virtual coaching as well as studio and team workshops. She holds a B.A. in Psychology from The University of Arkansas, is an Associate Certified Coach through the International Coaching Federation, a Whole Person Certified Coach and Trauma-Informed Certified Coach, a Certified Positive Psychology Coach, and a trained facilitator in Tara Mohr's Playing Big Coaching Program. Ashley’s a specialist for Doctors for Dancers, and a blog contributor for Apolla Performance. You can also see her on tour with Embody Dance Conference, where she leads Mindset Skills Seminars for all ages, including parents and teachers.

Previous post
Next post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published