A common grief among adult ballet dancers is the loss of ever being able to be a ballerina — of ever being able to truly live the life of a ballerina, the whole 24/7 package.
I’m sure there are many parts of that lifestyle that we don’t fully understand. I’m sure all the blisters, injuries, pain, pressure and rejection are things we cannot fully wrap our tantalised minds around. But the great sense of injustice at finding ballet so late in our lives, that many of us feel, usually overshadows those real-life ballerina issues. Most of the time.
So then, what do you do, how do you fill the ballerina gap, when you can’t be a ballerina?
Well, you can start by celebrating the fact that you don’t have all that pressure on you. You don’t HAVE to keep dancing on that injury or risk losing your employment. You don’t HAVE to do anything in ballet.
For adult ballet dancers, it is all about what we WANT to do.
Sure, sometimes (often) in class our teachers might make us feel that we should be focusing on a million things that feel impossible, but that’s only what the teacher wants — again, we don’t HAVE to do anything we don’t WANT to do.
So, we can set our sights on almost anything!
Feeling the music
Feeling like a ballerina
Laughing with friends
Port de bras
Anything. ANYthing! ANY THING!
(Well, aside from the pro-ballerina thing)
Remember to believe in yourself.
You are allowed to set goals, dream and achieve.
You are allowed to want more.
You are allowed to strive for the best you can be.
You are allowed to strike a fabulous ballet pose, and feel as proud of yourself as if you were that professional ballerina that you feel is inside you.
Tiny tots starting their first ballet class, girls graduating senior ballet, boys navigating a seemingly feminine world of ballet, professional ballerinas, adult beginner ballet students, ballet teachers, advanced adult ballet students and audiences who love watching ballets on stage — we’re all part of the same thing. We’re all part of ballet.
So what can you do when you can’t be a pro ballerina?
Whatever the fuck else you can imagine. Whatever else you can dream up.
Go forth and conquer the moment. Your moment.
Enjoy it. Revel in it. Own it.
And always remember…
You deserve to be in the room.