September 11, 2012

Ballet Class, The Sequel



You recall how I wrote about having to cut over two thirds of my daily ballet? Even worse, looking at the months ahead, I have been thisclose to cancelling all my classes. As a fellow dancer, can you imagine anything more pathetic? While I've been working at improving my situation, many of you have supported me with helpful advice and sympathetic comments - and I give you my heartfelt thanks. You readers are awesome! Not everyone (outside of ballet) is inclined to understand the need for an adult recreational dancer to dance. I have been told that I will adjust, that twice a week is better than once, that once is better than not at all. That less should still be enough. Of course I can adapt, my life is not going to fall apart if I dance less - but why should I justify my want and need to dance more?

This is the time to dance. I'm still relatively young (dance keeps you that way), I'm in good shape and there are very few responsibilties to restrict my dance schedule. There's even time for other interests and activities. It's almost an ideal situation, and if it weren't for the "almost", I would be one happy dancer indeed. Here's another difference between us hobby dancers and professionals: the pros get paid to dance. Ballet class, rehearsals, performances - just like another day at the office, only not. I could be envious, but I know that being a professional dancer is one the toughest jobs out there. And even though it's hard work, this is rarely reflected in numbers. You're not going to make a lot of money dancing. Why then would anyone want to make a career out of dancing? I suspect it's the same desire that drives us recreational dancers to class after class. Dance is just plain addictive.

Coming down from daily ballet to twice a week has been hard. There have been withdrawal symptoms: restless feet and anxious dreams of missing class and not fitting into my leos or shoes. I have gone walking/jogging when I normally would have been in class, and I have done stretches and some ab work at home. But it's amazing how quickly you notice the difference! In just one month I have gone softer and less limber. Even my teacher recommended I should work out more to compensate for less class time. Yikes. The problem is, I don't really like to exercise. The gym is just not my place to be. Although, if it could be functional training to aid with my dancing.. That would be okay. ;)

NEWS! Since I started writing this (first draft was done a week ago), there has been a new development! I can't go into detail here, but it's safe to say that I don't have to quit dancing, at least for the time being. Even better, I get to dance full-time for the next two months! Daily classes! I don't know yet what happens after that, but right now I feel like I could grand jeté down the street. Which I might just do.

18 comments:

  1. AWESOME!!! So great to hear that you get your daily classes, again! :)

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    1. Thanks! I feel like a whole person again. Now I just need my body to adapt again - but this is the fun part :)

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  2. That is so exciting! I can only dance three times a week currently, and when the third class (on Saturdays) gets cancelled, I go a little crazy from not being able to dance!

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    1. I feel for you! Really hate when that happens. We are still waiting for our Friday pointe class to start, and I'm a little worried it's not going to happen. Hope you can find another class somehow/somewhere.

      Thanks for commenting :)

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  3. It is true that dancing won’t make a lot of money. But it's not just all about money! In dancing, there is passion and expression. You'll never regret your choice not to quit in dancing. I know you will realize it soon the importance of dancing in your life.

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    1. Dear Amy,

      I'm not a professional dancer, hence I don't get paid to dance. Instead, I have to pay for my classes like all us recreational adult dancers. The only reason why I would have to quit dancing is because there's not money enough to pay for those classes. I'm already stretching my budget beyond what should be possible. Why? Because dance is really important to me! You really should read more careful :)

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  4. Go Johanna! I am happy for you and keep it up with the good work.
    Love Nasia

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    1. Thank you, Nasia, that is very sweet of you! :)

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  5. Hi Johanna,
    I'm glad I came across you're blog. I am 29 and just getting into ballet. I don't have any great schools here but plan to attend a school in Los Angeles in the next few months. Do you have plans to audition for ballet companies in the long run? I would love to dance with a corp ballet someday. I felt down about it for a while since I missed out on training as a child, but it seems a lot of people of giving it their all in their thirties. :)
    Kimberly

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    1. Hi Kimberly,

      I'm way too old to audition - and even if I was still in my twenties, I just don't have the requisite talent & skill. Also, there are really no amateur ballet groups in Finland, we have just the one National Ballet. But I know of friends and recreational dancers who have auditioned in the US for regional and smaller companies, mainly during Nutcracker season. It would be easier if you were male though, not enough of those to go around ;)

      I do get to perform with my school once or twice a year - we have this big spring show in a beautiful old theatre. And we might possibly have another small show before xmas. Sadly, Nutcracker is not a ballet/dance school tradition here, so no chance of me ever being a snow-flake on stage. But I'm happy with whatever I can get - and being in class is already all I need.

      There are lots of good schools in L.A., so find yourself a great teacher and make the most of it. Wishing you all the best!

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  6. Hi Johanna,
    Don't say that! I am sure you could audition if you wanted to.
    I am in Detroit now & we don't have a real ballet company here. I convinced my boyfriend to attend ballet class with me. He's even willing to try pointe one day if he can. I hope he enjoys it so I can dance with him in a show one day. Yes, I agree. I would be happy being a tiny character off to the side. I do enjoy the Nutcracker, but I am more partial to Swan Lake & Giselle. I am planning on attending Michael Cornell's school in the next six months. I will keep reading & look forward to hearing about your training.
    Best to you, too!

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  7. Hey, remember me?
    You told me I was rushing too much and I wasn't ready for pointe.
    Just got them today. Can't wait for my first lesson.
    Greets

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    1. Sorry, I don't remember you. A name & date of your previous comment might help. Anyway, if I thought you were rushing into something at the time, I must have had my reasons. You have to understand that I only have my readers' best interest at heart. I'd rather not see anyone get frustrated or develop bad habits becuse they rush into pointe. Or even worse, end up hurting themselves.

      In the end, a responsible and professional ballet teacher is the best to judge each dancer's readiness for pointe.

      Since I don't remember your comment, I assume some time has passed. Good for you if it has enabled you to grow strong enough for pointe. I hope it will be a good experience! :)

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    2. Hey I think I know who she is!
      Isn't she that girl that commented on your "ballet snapshots" page? She asked you to check out her blog, her last message is getting pointe shoes I think.

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  8. Thanks, Katherine - you know the commentary better than I do! :)

    I did not advise her about pointe shoes, just not to rush things in general. It appeared to me that she was attempting very advanced ballet vocabulary with comparatively little experience. Which can lead to frustration and bad habits, even injury. But she responded that it was her "experienced teacher" telling her to go ahead with fouettés and a la seconde pirouettes, in no less than 1 year. I still feel apprehensive about it, but who am I to judge..

    I just hope she gets to be the dancer dhe dreams of becoming - like we all do! :)

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  9. Totally feeling you here. I have missed -so- many classes lately, first there was a hurricane so everyone had no power and there was no class for a week, then we moved and I had to spend my evenings packing and cleaning.

    2 classes in september so far. Total. And I missed this week sick...

    At least with the new house I no longer have to change into tights in my office in order to get to class on time -- I can go home first. :)

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