July 24, 2011


All vacations must come to an end, and mine - sadly no exception. Come Monday morning, the alarm will ring at 6:00 AM and this summer will never be the same again. Goodbye to deliberate idleness and days spent sunbathing, swimming, sitting in cafés with the girls.. and dancing. Wait! There will be no end to the dancing. My vacation may be over and done with (truly it is), but my summer dancathon is still in full swing!

I do worry a little that there is no cutting back, now that I´ve gotten used to my daily dose of dance again. And why should I not enjoy it while I still can? Hello, not getting any younger here! I have also noticed some improvement in my dancing, and not just in the purely technical. There might actually be a hint of artistry, just a whiff, in a port de bras, or phrasing of the music.. I really, really want and need to see where this is going.

This means that for the foreseeable future I will either rush from the office to class, or I will be home just in time to get to bed. Not every day of the week, but five at least. In the summer it comes easy, because the sun sets late and days just seem longer. In the cold and dark of Finnish winter - another story. But ballet class has always been my strongest motivator. I suppose you could call me driven.

Desire - dedication - drive. Three words I have no difficulty associating with dance. You begin with desire, with the hope of becoming a proficient and active participant in the art of ballet. You may dream of pas de deux with Marcelo, of octoplet pirouettes and standing ovations, but even simple tendus and pliés already equal happiness.

Dedication is where you turn desire into consistent and real work, and into quality. It does not matter that it is all recreational. The reward lies in the dancing itself, in the countless hours dedicated to barre and center, and maybe the occasional recital.

Drive will propel your forward, but finally it is the dancing that will take you places. Away from yourself and back again, but never returned the same. For me, therein lies the magic. Can you really blame me if I keep coming back for more?



  1. What a lovely post. You make anything in dance seem possible.

  2. It's addictive, isn't it? I joked with some brand new beginners last week that they they may find it addictive and reach a point where they need a daily fix :) I also would ideally dance every day but I completely understand the energy and time committment it takes to work all day then trek off to ballet class, then come home, shower, eat, and fall into bed. And once it gets cold and dark early, it's really a test of will...

    I just found out that my university has a dance studio that is unused for certain portions of the day and I am ridiculously excited about taking advantage of it during my lunch break to do some barre and work on some sticky points in a nice space with a good floor and mirrors (my apartment is just too small to do more than 2-3 steps carefully!). Perhaps that can fill the gap days when I don't have class :)

    I'm glad you enjoyed your vacation and I hope your return to normal life is smooth!

  3. Really enjoy your posts Johanna, our ballet 'histories' are extremely similar and I often find myself nodding my head in agreement with your sentiments. I just completed a week long pointe intensive (with teenagers!), I took time off from work to dance 5 hours every day last week and was sad to see it end. If I had kept a diary it wouldn't be quite as eloquent as your blog, so it's a treat for me to come here and read your thoughts on all those feelings ballet stirs up. Thank you!

  4. Good for you! Very exciting and inspirational!

  5. Yay - love the comments! :)

    @Leslie: How cool! I don´t think I could have managed 5 hours every day, and I´m definitely not ready for any pointe intensive. But it must have been an awesome experience!

    I´m happy you like to read my ramblings. It would not be half as much fun without you! And a lot less eloquent ;) I would just write down the corrections and some of the trickier exercises. Like: tendu derrier straight to back corner, keep pointed leg low before piqué, practice fouettés. Boring..

    @classical ballet teacher: Thanks, you are so sweet! Anything is probably not possible, but we are certainly capable of much more than we think!

  6. @Jeff - you commented while I was typing my answer!
    Thanks so much, inspiring other dancers is the best part of writing :)

    I wish we had more danseurs like yourself, could finally get that pas de deux -class going..

  7. @Kaija - A dance studio at your disposal? Wow. I would probably miss a lecture. Or two.. ;)
    Been thinking of loading down some class music and planning my own barre & center. The only problem: I have no space!

    Ballet addiction.. Some of us get hooked from the first plié :D

  8. Johanna, you know I think you have more than just a hint of artistry. Even though I have never seen you dance, it is so evident in your writing! That was such a gorgeous post. Very, very inspiring! So glad I found your blog.

    Nina x

  9. Nina, you write the sweetest comments!

    But I´m sticking to the "hint" of artistry :)


To That Special Ballet Teacher

To that special ballet teacher, who not only teaches you about technique, but helps build your confidence, nurtures your inner artist, ...