We’ve made it! We’re officially at the end of our core value acronym of G.R.E.A.T.E.R.--R for Resiliency. While every one of our core values are equally important, resiliency does hold a special place in the heart of SRL: it’s the thing that makes sure your dancer is able to make use of all those other qualities! While most people would automatically equate resiliency with a kind of “toughness,” the word means more than that. It’s not actually about being tough per say, but about being flexible, about the ability to adapt to both new and adverse situations, and about being able to reform oneself after you take a hit. Resilient people are tough, but not just tough—their particular form of toughness allows them to strengthen their sense of self as they learn, adapt, and grow.
The word flexible is one dancers hear a lot about, and while it might be a key part of high kicks, flexibility is nothing on its own—you still have to have the strength to keep your form. That’s the truth of resiliency: not just flexibility, but the ability to stay strong while being flexible—essentially, embracing mistakes and difficulties as improvement opportunities, rather than focus on the negatives. A resilient dancer doesn’t give up just because a combination is challenging, but rather finds the reward in the hard work and delayed gratification of mastery (a quality studies show helps produce healthier and happier adults.) The combination of strength and flexibility is all about learning, rather than being discouraged—something that adults functioning in the real world need to embrace as much as Irish dancers in the studio.
The world of dance is all about progress and growth (another core value!,) and that means constantly adapting as things change. Periods of transition (i.e. change in circumstance) are consistently evaluated as the biggest stressors in anyone’s life, no matter their age—moving, divorce, unemployment, grief, we all know the stereotypical examples. Like everything in life, learning how to deal with these big moments of transition start small: by learning how to adapt to changes on a micro-scale. Whether it be a classmate moving on to another level when you haven’t quite gotten there yet, disappointing feis results, or an injury, instilling resiliency allows our dancers to take a step back from their situation, problem solve, and continue forward. It’s easy for an unsuccessful moment to get you down, but resilient dancers (and people) know that chancing failure by taking safe, considered risks, and continuing to do so even when they don’t work out, is the only way to succeed.
Lastly, resiliency isn’t just about outside influences—it’s equally about a dancer’s sense of self. The key for anyone to be able to adapt versus change when presented with a new or difficult situation is to have a strong sense of self that includes self-review, self-care, and self-love. Not all change is bad, of course, but there’s a difference between changing yourself for growth, and changing yourself to fit in—and while we want our dancers to adapt, we want them to be their best selves, not a forced self, while they do it! One of the main definitions of resiliency includes a substance’s ability to return to its original form after being bent, stretched, etc.—and that’s the kind of resiliency we want to instill in our dancers: the hard times in your life don’t define you, but rather your determination to recover from them. This stems from an ability to take stock, take care of yourself, and do what’s best for you—true resiliency is a dedication to the health of the self in each and every circumstance.
There’s our SRL Core Values: G for Growth, R for Respect, E for Excellence, A for Appreciation, T for Transparency, E for Enthusiasm, and now, R for Resiliency. It’s a resilient spirit that allows our dancers to take challenges as opportunities for growth, that in turn allows them to strive for excellence, and to appreciate even the hard moments in their dancing careers and life. It allows them to be transparent with themselves about their skills and abilities—knowing they’re able to keep going—and allows enthusiasm to be their leading way of looking at the world, even when things get hard. Ultimately, helping our SRL dancers become G.R.E.A.T.E.R. isn’t just about dance, but the life lessons your dancers can take out of the studio to become successful in whatever they set their minds to.
This post is part of a series. Read our last core values post, all about capital E for Enthusiasm, here. Check out the blog every Monday and Thursday for more posts about Irish history, dance culture, community news, and spotlights on our dancers, staff, and families—among other fun projects! And don’t forget to dance along with us on both Facebook and Instagram.
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