Dancer, Discouraged

26 Jun

Today, I did something I hate doing: I skipped a class, and one of my favourites, too. My little aches and pains were just bothering me too much today. I usually just do my best to power through, working to my current limitations and trying not to push myself, but I knew that if I went to my pointe class I would make it all worse.

But that wasn’t the entire reason I decided to stay home. I needed a good sulk, too. I’ve been feeling a bit discouraged lately with ballet, with dance in general (and with life in general, too, but that’s another blog post entirely). Last Thursday, I celebrated my 100th class at my current dance studio, and it felt wonderful. I was worried I would be let down by it… that my 100th class would feel no different to my very 1st class. It was an Advanced Beginner/Elementary level class, which I’ve been taking in addition to the studio’s Beginner, Basics, and Intro to Pointe classes for a few months now — I love the challenge the Elementary class gives me, because I am still in that awkward not-quite-beginner/not-quite-intermediate stage of my re-introduction to ballet.

Back to the point*, though. My 100th class was amazing. I felt like I had made progress, rather than just doing well enough and not looking helpless and ridiculous, but progress is such a fluctuating thing in dance. Some days it’s there, some days it isn’t. In Friday night’s classes, I found myself split: in Lyrical, I felt helpless until I watched the video of our choreo at the end of class and realised I hadn’t done quite as poorly as I’d thought; in Ballet Basics (taken in my pointe shoes), I tried my best not to let my mood seep into my performance, but it may have done just that. I did as well as I ever do, I guess, which should be well enough, but I walked out of there feeling like something was lacking. I’m too hard on myself, and I expect too much of myself, and get discouraged when I feel like I’m slipping backwards or not moving forward at all when it comes to marking my progress level.

So I took today off, and I sulked a little, and I nursed my aching hamstring, knee, and shoulder. And I worried that these aches and pains will never go away, that they’ll just get worse and my dancing won’t get any better. And I resolved to make an appointment to get a doctor’s advice on the more annoying aches, even though I’m secretly a little terrified of hearing, “You need to stop dancing.”

Because at this point, I’m not sure I ever could. Good or bad, encouraged or discouraged, dance has become so much of my life that I’m not sure how I’d function without it.


*Yes, I had that typed as “Back to the pointe” and didn’t realise it until I was proofing the post. If there were ever an indication that ballet has taken over my life…


3 Responses to “Dancer, Discouraged”

  1. Mary Baum June 26, 2011 at 9:32 pm #

    If you ever hear a doctor tell you it’s time to stop dancing, that’s your cue: it’s time to get a new doctor. Professional dancers dance until they die. Plus, it is possible to buy knees and hips when they wear out – on some basis. Hearts and lungs – not so much. Especially the heart that loves.

    • TheStudioDCFA June 27, 2011 at 8:02 am #

      I second that, Mary. That’s exactly what I told my (ex) doctor when he told me (at age 10!) that I needed to stop.

  2. Nerea Fernández July 10, 2011 at 2:46 pm #

    My ballet teacher told us that many years ago she had an operation on her back and her doctor told her she should stop dancing. She just didn’t accept it and now she’s not only my teacher, but also 300 more students’. She’s very good and loves her job. A good example of self-improvement! =D

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