The Importance of Grit
“Gritty people have a growth mindset; when bad things happen, they don’t give up.”
This quote is from author Angela Duckworth, who popularized the word “grit” about five years ago with her famous TED Talk about the power of passion and perseverance. She wasn’t talking specifically about dancers, but she could have been!
Dancers, like many other artists, are known for their resilience. It’s one reason why we value determination and tenacity so highly here at SDS, because we know those are beneficial qualities to have in life, in or out of the dance classroom. But can you teach children to be more resilient, more gritty? I strongly believe the answer to that is yes.
In our classes, we want our dancers to know we care about them and want them to succeed. But we also want to hold them to age-appropriate, growth-driven standards—standards that may seem out of reach at times, and will require their hard work, practice, and focus for achievement.
Dance, like life, can present its challenges: the step might not look correct; your body might be sore or injured; the audition answer might be no; you might even fall down every now and then. Allowing a child to simply walk away from those challenges (or give up on them) only teaches the child entitlement, that hard work need not apply. Persevering through those challenges, however, teaches them the work ethic they will need throughout their childhood and young adult life.
These lessons in dance will be hard at times, no doubt. As parents and teachers, we will know that there will sometimes be tears or frustrations. But that won’t stop us from encouraging these amazing kids. They are amazing kids who will go on to persevere through a tough high school exam, bounce back from a job they didn’t get, or work through a strained friendship. They are amazing kids who will become amazing adults because they have been challenged by failure and fueled by success.
At SDS, we want you to know that this message is very important to us and close to our hearts, and it helps us coach the best out of your children, day in and day out. Teaching them how to be grittier helps empower them now and for their future—and we hope it is something you can take pride in as a parent!