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When You Can't Be A Ballerina

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! 

Triple pirouettes

Jetes

Stronger feet

Feeling the music

Feeling like a ballerina

Laughing with friends

Fondues

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.

Zoe xxx 

 

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Give Your Dreams a Spark (aka: saying them out loud)

Remember this…

Uncaging Secrets

Okay, so upon thinking about it overnight I realise that this isn’t really that deep or dark a secret. And I may have even mentioned it here before, but I am admitting it super duperly, no-turning-back, loud and clear now… 

I wanna know want it feels like to dance en pointe. 

In other words… I WANT TO DANCE EN POINTE! 
In other, other words: I want to slide my feet into pointe shoes, strap those baby’s on and take a tour of the dance floor. 
There. I said it. I mean, it’s obviously not really that much of a secret, but I haven’t gone all out with it before because I feel like such a dick when I say it. Like, I want to crawl under a table when I say it. 
I may, or may not be crawling under a table right now. 
I still have people in my real life finding out that I do ballet from my deck in the bush, and some are overwhelmingly positive about it and others don’t get it. Although I still feel very uncomfortable when people want to talk about it (especially when they don’t get it but want to keep talking about it), I have learned to remind myself that it may seem silly to other people, but to me it was either ballet or a therapist, medication and some pretty dark shit. 
So to choose ballet seems like the most un-silly thing in the world — to me. 
My point is that I’m getting better at not crawling under the table when people say they heard about my ballet (I think about the table but I don’t go there) 😉 
But if I think about allowing myself to want pointe work? ….. 
Damn the underside of this table is cosy. 😉 
Okay, so I have been thinking hypothetically for a while about this and I want to start thinking literally. 
Could I literally do this? I feel like there are so many factors involved. Like how do you learn pointe work if you can only get to an in person class every few months? How do you know you’re ready? How do you even know you have the right shoes without your teacher seeing you dance in them again and again? How do remain safe? What if you snap your ankle? 
Why am I thinking about crazy things like pointe shoes? Where has my table gone? 
But hang on a sec. Take a breath and calm a little down. Okay, calm a lot down! Is it possible that a sensible person could do an absolute beginner pointe class, or record a private absolute beginner pointe class, and then just keep repeating that at home? And then learn more at their next class, and go home and repeat and practice that — and just repeat that again and again? And I’m not talking about starting turns en pointe. I’ve seen how intense pointe classes are, I ain’t stupid. 
I’m just thinking about starting with the prep work and then the barre work. 
Is it possible? 
So, here’s the thing, I don’t know if it’s possible or not, but it is a desire that is growing inside me. It’s getting closer and closer to the surface. I’m sure you all remember taking your first ballet class as an adult? I’m sure you remember the build up to that class, the moment you decided it had to stop being an idea and start being real? 
That’s what this feels like. I am terrified that I will be terrible at it, my feet will break and I will be mortified by the whole experience — but despite all those fears, I am feeling more and more pull towards having a go. 
I want to add that experience to my ballet journey. I would love to know when I would be ready for it. In any case, it’s a huge thing for me to be letting this secret out of the vault. So I’m gonna just let it hang around with me. Let it be present with me and allow it to exist and breathe for a while. 
Well, thanks for listening. Here’s to uncaging secrets. Here’s to these feet possibly being in pointe shoes some day! “

  

I was thinking, almost boringly, about how I need to order a new pair of pointe shoes soon, when it dawned on me that just a few months ago I was sweating with fear about going into a bloch shop and asking to be fitted for my first pair of pointes.

And I remembered this post. And as I reread through it I could tangibly feel my desire to try pointe work. And as I felt the memories of those feelings and desires I started feeling pretty darn proud. 

I did it!

I took the leap of faith. I refused to let the doubt keep me imprisoned. 

I felt the fear and did it anyway.

I was safe. Overly cautious. And completely aware of everything that could go wrong. 

But I took itty bitty steps. And slowly eased myself into this dream. 

Then I eased my feet into those point shoes.

Then I stood up en pointe in those pointe shoes.

I did it! 

And how did it feel to finally do it?

The emotional and mental feelings were all jumbled and mixed up during this process, and are a bit of a blur. 

But one thing I remember crystal clearly is how my feet felt. Because it was so striking to me. I thought they were going to scream at me, but they didn’t. In fact, I’m pretty sure I heard them say…

“Thank you for bringing us home.”

That’s what it felt like. Like my feet were home. Finally home.

So odd. Completely unexpected. And NOT AT ALL how I expect them to be feeling after an actually pointe class. 🙂

Isn’t it amazing what we can do when we allow ourselves to want it? thats the thing I really wanted to write about today. 

Dreams, be them big or small, all need a start. If I hadn’t ever allowed myself to want to dance en pointe, if I had never let the secret out of the vault, it never would have happened.

I have found that the most important part of achieving your dreams is daring to say you want them in the first place. You’ve gotta let those babies out. 

It’s almost like, if you keep them inside you, even you can’t see them clearly. So how can they get started?

It’s really scary but for your dreams to light up, they need a spark. Saying them out loud is the spark. If you don’t want to speak them then start by writing them down. But let them out.

Give them the spark they need to get started.

I have loved looking back at this post today. It’s helped me to see what my own courage and determination can lead to. Something I never thought would happen did happen.

Can’t wait to see what’s next!

P.S: just so you know, my comments section is a safe haven for dream sparks. 🙂