Choosing the Right Mentor: Unlocking Success in Dance, Life, and Mental Wellness

In the world of competitive dance, the relationship between a dancer and their coach is paramount – one that’s built on trust, communication, and mutual respect. California-based star dance coach Artem Syzdykov shares his insights on the pivotal role that mentors can play in shaping both the technique and mental resilience of their students.

Excellence in dancing isn’t just about steps and technique. Rather, it’s a journey of self-discovery, discipline, and emotional growth. As Syzdykov says, “On the dance floor, it’s all about emotions.” 

Navigating one’s dance journey requires more than just talent and passion.  Under the guidance and watchful eye of a skilled mentor you can both enhance your dance technique and also nurture your mental well-being.

The psychological dimension of dance coaching is one of the fundamental aspects that Syzdykov emphasizes. He recalls experiences with students where understanding the delicate balance between pressure and encouragement was crucial, especially when dealing with performance anxiety. 

“As a dance coach, I feel exactly when to apply pressure and when to release it,” he said. “Students can’t improve and reach their goals through praise alone and without any criticism. Constructive feedback tailored to each individual’s needs can significantly impact their confidence and progress on the dance floor.”

Syzdykov is keen to highlight the transformative power of dance in promoting mental wellness.


“Regular participation in social dancing serves as a potent antidote to depressive states,” he said. “Through dance, people find a sense of community, purpose, and joy, transcending the challenges of life’s adversities. It’s a testament to the holistic benefits of dance beyond physical fitness.”


When it comes to choosing the right mentor, Syzdykov advocates a discerning approach, stressing the importance of aligning goals and personalities between the student and the coach. While accolades and titles may be impressive, the coach’s ability to inspire growth and foster a supportive learning environment is what truly matters.


“I advise against coaches who overly praise without addressing areas for improvement, as well as those who project their own unresolved issues onto their students,” he said. “Instead, look for mentors who offer a balanced mix of encouragement and criticism, pushing students to reach their full potential while respecting their individual journeys.

Syzdykov encourages aspiring dancers to look beyond credentials and examine the quality of the coach’s product — namely, their students’ progress and achievements.

“Observing how a coach communicates with students and conducts themselves on and off the dance floor can offer valuable insights into their coaching style and effectiveness,” he said. 

Ultimately, the relationship between a dancer and mentor goes beyond mere instruction. According to Syzdykov, it’s a dynamic partnership fueled by passion, dedication, and mutual respect. By choosing the right mentor, dancers can not only elevate their dance technique but also cultivate resilience, confidence, and overall well-being on and off the dance floor.

Syzdykov believes mentors can play a pivotal role in shaping the trajectory of a dancer’s career. 

“By prioritizing their goals and values, dancers embark on a transformative journey to reach new heights of fulfillment in dance and life,” he said. “But make sure to choose your coach with care because they’re not just about helping to reach your goals. All kinds of mentors are there to nourish your spirit along the way.”

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