There’s a lot of dialogue about mental health in the entertainment world with many celebrities from the music, film and theatre industry telling their own stories.
But what about the dance industry where discussing mental health is deemed taboo and still bears stigma? Not according to retired Royal Ballet Dancer Terry Hyde, a successful and well-known UK-based Psychotherapist who’s actively campaigning for honest proactive discussion and more understanding of mental health and wellbeing in the UK dance industry.
As a retired professional dancer, Terry has a greater understanding of the pressures that go with a career in dance. From forced early retirement, injury, stress and career related issues to audition and performance anxiety, he has been through many of these himself.
The recent Good Morning America segment aired, by anchor Lara Spencer mocking Prince George’s attendance at ballet classes struck a chord with Terry and highlighted issues regarding the stigma against male dancers, an attitude which seems to have changed little in fifty years.
Now, following a recent invitation, Terry will be flying-over to the USA to share his professional skills for the first time with students at New York City’s famous Joffrey Ballet School as part of a series of proactive workshops over two days covering mental wellbeing.
Terry says “I am extremely proud and thrilled to have been invited by such a famous and reputable ballet school who are putting their student’s’ wellbeing first. So often companies only offer reactive support to students after they become unwell, but I want to promote a much more proactive approach. If students are aware of ways to look after themselves, so they can recognise signs and have effective tools, and techniques to use, there won’t be such a reliance on mental health back up. A dancer who is mentally fit and emotionally strong is likely to perform better and probably have a longer career.”
The Joffrey Ballet School have a very modern and forward-thinking approach to wellbeing for their students and I am very much looking forward to working with them for the very first time.”
Ms. Era Jouravlev, Ballet Trainee Program Artistic Director at Joffrey Ballet School added: “Our students’ physical and mental well-being is a top priority. We believe that having the right mindset will lead to a successful and healthy career path. We look forward to Mr. Hyde’s workshops and for him to impart his wisdom and experiences with our students.”
With mental health issues in the performing arts being reported more often in the national media Terry’s ambition is to encourage every dance company in the UK to recognise and understand the need for dancers to receive professional guidance without stigma.
As Terry says: ‘A healthy and happy dancer makes a healthy and happy company’.
Terry will continue his visit to the USA with Mental Health Self-Care Workshops for dancers in Hartford CT as well as an open-to-all dancers one in NYC.