A dance about imposter syndrome: what is it and how do you portray it?

“It’s the syndrome where you feel like you’re an impostor, that everyone can see it from the outside, and that you could actually be fooled at any moment,” Souhair said in a statement. NOS With a view to Tomorrow† “It happens to a lot of people, including me sometimes.”


It mainly occurs with Souhair when she is busy in her field of work. What caused this to happen to her? “It could be things from your past. As an artist you are in a kind of environment that is not measurable. You can’t measure your success, it’s all subjective. I think that’s how it started for me. That I think I’m less good,” she says. “It mainly manifests itself in uncertainty. You can fall through the basket at any moment. Everything you do stands out and everyone can see it. You cannot internalize your own success. Someone can see that what you are doing is right. But you think to yourself: wow.” Compliments hardly come in for her. “You always take criticism.”

She also recognizes it in many of her colleagues. “We have the same mentality. We always want to work very hard, but it is never good enough. So we continue to work very hard.” She notices it especially in dancers with a bicultural background. “You then have the feeling that you don’t fit in both worlds. You want to belong to one culture and then you adapt, and then you come back to the other culture and then you want to adapt again. Then you realize that it is never enough. You try to find a culture that fits you, but that is difficult because you are constantly being pulled. †


How do you process all these feelings in a dance performance? “I looked very closely at myself during the making process. I noticed that I bumped into my imposter feelings very much. That showed in my way that I was looking for a lot of distraction. I wanted to make a lot, but made nothing. I didn’t record anything. I started making something based on that. For example, I have incorporated an insecure feeling into all kinds of body languages.”

dance performance

The dance performance consists of only Souhair. She is the only dancer on stage. “It starts very modestly. I try to introduce myself, but I don’t dare. I can’t find the words for it. It eventually manifests itself in frustration. After that it’s like my thoughts evaporate again. I want to dwell as little as possible in the feelings and so I’m going to do something fun. Then I’ll do something else and make sure I haven’t actually done anything at all. I have woven that into my performance as well.”


“The performance has helped me enormously in capturing something. I had to make a show. I have noticed that because of this I have developed myself in making choices, at first I did not dare to make any choices at all, because nothing was good enough. Then nothing arises. Now I have started to shape myself more in what I like or think works.”


“My aim was to find my strength in my fears. I think it worked. Maybe just in the fact that I made something and conquered my fears a bit. I think there are also good qualities to the syndrome. The competitive element works for me,” says Souhair. “I have come a step further in my dance. I went in search of myself and how I want to move, without meeting the expectations of others. I did feel some freedom in that.”

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