Dr. Jason von Stietz had the honor of meeting with the San Pedro City Ballet, a world class pre-professional dance company, to discuss teamwork and mental skills. They are best known for discovering and nurturing the talent of American Ballet Theatre superstar Misty Copeland. Dr. von Stietz introduced sport and performance psychology concepts to the highly regarded dancers such as gaining comfort with uncomfortable feelings (emotional or physical) and continuing to focus on the task at hand. The dancers easily related this to their personal experiences in which they performed their best when they were absorbed into their dance and filtered out any distractions. Alternatively, they noted that their worst performances involved numerous distractions (e.g., a smaller stage than needed for the dance routine, spotlights that were too close and generating too much heat, and audiences that were too close to the stage) that diverted their attention from the task at hand.
In order to help the dancers to better accept uncomfortable feelings while continuing to focus on their task, Dr. von Stietz introduced them to improvisational comedy exercises. The dance company was given the task of working together as a team to develop an ancient ballet proverb. The rules of the exercise required them to create the proverb one word at a time. For example, one dancer might say the word, “Thou.” Then, the next dancer might say the word, “shall.” The next dancer might say, “always.” Each dancer contributes one word until an ancient ballet proverb is created such as “Thou shall always work hard to create something beautiful and make life-long friendships.” Exercises such as this, allowed Dr. von Stietz to interject with sport psychology lessons. This gives the dancers the opportunity to reflect on how these lessons can be applied to ballet, school, and life in general.
Unfortunately, due to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, Dr. von Stietz and the San Pedro City Ballet are putting their plans to work together on hold. However, they hope to be able to work together in-person soon and may begin engaging in team building meetings via online therapy (telehealth) if necessary.
Dr. Jason von Stietz specializes in Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Sport/Performance Psychology in Torrance, CA. He provides online therapy (telehealth) by way of the Torrance office and is available for a free initial phone consultation. Dr. von Stietz works with individuals from Long Beach, the greater Los Angeles area, and the South Bay including Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, El Segundo and all over California.