Dance is an art form that requires the whole self. You've likely witnessed a talented, hardworking student inexplicably hit a block or fail to perform their best when the stakes are high. No matter how hard they work physically, getting to the next level will be an inefficient struggle until the mind becomes a more active and effective partner.
The practice of mindfulness can help. "There is a concept called 'participating' or 'flow,' in which a person is able to throw themselves completely into an activity with awareness and control but without actively focusing their attention on themselves or analyzing the details of what they are doing," says Catherine Drury, a psychotherapist and licensed clinical social worker who specializes in working with dancers. "That ability to enter wholly into movement without judgment or self-consciousness is what allows dancers to perform at their peak."