Academic stress in dancers


Diagram by Ashley Lovas

The never ending cycle many dancers face.

Dance is not portrayed as a stressful, extreme, and competitive activity to most people, but once you are highly involved in dance it is a whole different story. Nobody really speaks on how difficult it is to balance being a good student, and a good dancer.

Not only do you have to balance the stress of remembering all your routines, having proper technique, and striving to improve as a dancer, but you also have to balance the stress of your academics and school work. 

“Being at dance causes a lot of stress on me mentally because I lose many hours at dance that I could be using for homework,” Said Norwin student, Emma Reese (10). “Since the amount of homework that I receive continues to increase, balancing dance and stress is extremely difficult to manage.”

Unfortunately, the older you get as a dancer, the practices you partake in get longer and stricter, often leaving not much room left in your schedule for free time.


In a poll sent out to high school dancers, data shows that 66.7 percent of them have 8+ hours of training a week. 16.7 percent of the dancers train 5-6 hours a week, and 16.7 percent of the dancers that took the poll train 7-8 hours a week. Poll results show that dance takes up a huge chunk of time out of the dancers day, and week. 

The stress most dancers are feeling is not only showing in school, but in the dance studios as well. 

“The studio is supposed to be a stress free environment, but sometimes the thought of tests, homework, and bad grades can distract the dancers,” Sydney Heggen, studio owner of Fire Dance Company said.

Heggen was a Norwin High school student herself, and like most dancers in high school, often felt a lot of stress balancing school and dance.

“When I was in high school, balancing schoolwork and dance was always hard,” Heggen said. “I took as many performance classes, like choirs and I took study halls to help keep me interested in school and have time to focus on my schoolwork and dance separately,” Heggen said. 

School, eat, dance, sleep. It’s a never ending cycle. Exhausting isn’t it? Sadly this isn’t just the life for dancers in high school, but for most student athletes.

“All of the remembering of each dance I am in, makes my brain run a mile a minute and it overwhelms me sometimes,” said Emma Ursiny (12).

It often feels like there just isn’t enough time in the day to complete all the things one needs to do to be a successful dancer, and student. This results in some dancers forgetting to do some key tasks that will get them to achieve that lifestyle.

Almost 70 percent of the dancers that took a poll on balancing school and dance, said they have forgotten to do homework due to stress.The stress of balancing dance and academics is not just physically draining, but mentally draining as well. So much is going on at one time, and it can get very overwhelming.

“When you are a teenage dancer, you are not only dealing with schoolwork and dance, but also drama with friends and other peers.” ”

— Sydney Heggen, owner of Fire Dance Company

“It’s hard to dance 4-9 and then come home and do my homework in all my classes, ” said Izzy Krimble (10). I come home feeling exhausted and just want to pass out, but then I have to do all my homework.” 

Many find joy in dance, and have a huge passion for it. They are willing to put themselves through anything just to continue pursuing the vigorous activity.

Regardless of it being difficult to balance being a good student, and a good dancer, it still is possible to achieve both. Many students seem stressed out in the moment trying to balance it all out, but in the end it is worth it. 

“I love dance because you are able to get your emotions out by moving, it takes my stress away,” Mia Gigliotti (9).