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Psychologically Strong Phrases

To Say (and not to say!)

For Young Dancers Up to 10 Years

Option 1

 Say: "You looked like you were having so much fun!"

 Benefit: This comment encourages joy and positive association with performing.


Avoid: "Why didn’t you smile more?"

Reason: This comment can make the child feel criticized and self-conscious about their natural expression.

Option 2

 Say: "I'm so proud of how brave you were up there!"

 Benefit: This comment builds self-confidence and reinforces courage.


Avoid: "You seemed a bit scared."

Reason: This comment focuses on fear and can undermine their sense of bravery.

Option 3

 Say: "I love seeing you dance!"

 Benefit: This comment shows unconditional support and fosters a sense of being valued.


Avoid: "I wonder if one day you can dance like [another dancer their age]."

Reason: This comment naturally gravitates towards comparison.  Comparing can lower self-esteem and create unnecessary pressure.

Option 4

 Say: "You’ve been practicing so hard, and it shows!"

 Benefit: This comment acknowledges effort and hard work, promoting a growth mindset.


Avoid: "You probably need to make sure you don't miss anymore classes next year."

Reason: This comment emphasizes deficiency and can be discouraging.

Option 5

 Say: "You brought so much energy to the stage!"

 Benefit: This comment validates their enthusiasm and effort, boosting self-esteem.


Avoid: "You were a little too wild out there!"

Reason: This comment can make them feel like their natural energy is a problem.

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For Dancers Ages 11 to 18

Option 1

 Say: "You really connected with the music; it was beautiful to watch!"

 Benefit: This comment reinforces their artistic expression and emotional engagement.


Avoid: "You need to feel the music more."

Reason: This comment  implies they lacked emotional connection, which can be disheartening.

Option 2

 Say: "Your hard work and dedication are truly paying off."

 Benefit: This comment  validates their commitment and effort, encouraging perseverance.


Avoid: "Why weren’t you in the front row?"

Reason: This comment implies that their value is less if they are not in a lead position, which can be demoralizing.

Option 3

 Say: "Your performance was so powerful and inspiring!"

 Benefit: This comment boosts self-esteem by recognizing the impact of their performance.


Avoid: "It was good, but did you see [another dancer], they were amazing!"

Reason: This comment can bring about a feeling of comparison.  Comparisons can diminish their self-worth and create unnecessary competition.

Option 4

 Say: "You’ve grown so much as a dancer; it’s amazing to see!"

 Benefit: This comment highlights their progress and development, promoting a sense of achievement.


Avoid: "If you put in more time and practice harder, then you can be as good as [another dancer]."

Reason: Comparing their growth to anyone but themselves can be demoralizing.    

Option 5

 Say: "You handled that challenging routine with such grace!"

 Benefit: This comment acknowledges their skill and ability to overcome difficulties, fostering resilience.


Avoid: "You could've done better if you slept more last night."

Reason: This comment suggests that they didn’t do great and put in enough effort, which can be demotivating and hurtful.

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