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How do you deal with the fact that you will never become perfect?any a

Guest Giselle83

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Guest Giselle83


I was wondering if any of you older dancers and people who have been in ballet for several years could give some advice.


How do you deal with the fact that you won't ever be like those hyper flexible teenagers or that you won't ever reach a really high advaced level? I'm such a perfectionist, I'm afraid I have to quit the whole thing cause I won't ever be as good as I'd like to be... You can imagine that this avoids me enjoying ballet alot.


Some years ago it was so fun, cause I wasn't aware of all missing technique my teachers just didn't talk about. Nowadays I know it all, even my teachers are still keeping quiet about them (mostly lack of rotation in difficult movements) and it bothers me so much.

I try so hard to work on those little things even my teachers don't encourage into it...but am I just wasting time? should I stop worrying about things that are very very difficult and start enjoying the DANCING? Just because I won't be a pro...? Is any of you people just...sort of closing your eyes from some cruel facts?

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Giselle :D you are so sweet. It is a very personal path of self discovery of who you are, when you dance, and are you telling me you do not enjoy dancing? faint....



Also, Giselle, there is no dancer who is perfect, good grief! In fact I would pity anyone who was perfect because what goals/ambitions would that person actually have? that would make the most boring person in the entire world. Its our imperfections that make us who we are. If we canl ive with those imperfections and say 'sod the world', then that is great, but it takes guts to do that.


One of the arts to ballet is making the most of your shortcomings. If you do not have the most wonderful turnout, there are little things you can do (and I am not going to mention them) to make it 'appear' that you have the greatest turnout in the world.


Giselle, I am going to strongly recommend that you get hold of a biography/autobiography of any dancer and read it, really do this. Whther you buy the book second hand or new or borrow form the library, please go and read.



You will realise how these dancers have overcome their shortcomings and that they are not the 'perfect person' that you aspire to be. It will benefit you a lot.



The problem now Giselle, is that you have gotten into a vicous circle. You do ballet, the more you do , the more you realize you can't do it, then you don't do it, and the less you do, the worse you feel!


You have to get over this and see it as a challenge to be the best that YOU can be. If you are always wishing you were someone else or better then you can never be the person that you Giselle are, and that is probably a great loss:(

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Goodness! Please don't worry about that!


I've been dancing for 7 years - since I was 19. Ballet is a difficult thing to do. I used to think it would be something I could become 'excellent' at, by passing exams and learning things. But, you know, there's things like tendus that you could never be 'perfect' at, even if you were a prima ballerina. I realised this when I was doing the RAD exam syllabi for the higher grades. There was no way I could compete with the girls in my class who had been dancing since they were tiny, they just had better 'ballet bodies' than I did from years of stretching and practice. I do not think that turning will ever be totally natural to me.


The only thing I can really console myself with is the fact that, bad class or good class, I am still dancing, and at each one there is always something I can learn to do better, even if I do not achieve it the first time.


It's a pain in the neck, not being 'perfect'. But then life would be boring if we were all perfect, and if we went to the ballet and the people there could do the things we could do, then we'd all want our money back!;)


Just remember to enjoy it. If you are in the wrong class, find another one where you do feel like a dancer.

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Guest pumukau

Do you perform? In the past year we have transformed our ballet school into a ballet workshop, where we are building a repertoire of dances. It is mostly new choreography. Everybody performs, ages from 14 to myself at 53.


Before we started the project I was feeling VERY stuck. I have been studying ballet for almost ten years. There are things that I will never be able to do on a "professional level" whatever that is. But now I am using ballet technique to express myself, contributing to productions, being part of a company. In our most recent performance I was Wolf in Peter and the Wolf, and Father in "Daughter Song", a piece I commissioned for my daughter's wedding. I might never be able to do 6:00 penchee's, but I can build an interesting character.


THE BEST THING ABOUT DANCING IS THAT YOU ARE NOT ALONE! If you spend your whole life grimacing at yourself in a mirror you will learn very little. Becoming part of a company will show you how communities share their abilities. Participating in productions will make you part of the whole of ballet history. Believe me that can make up for a few imperfections of technique.


I tried quitting, but there simply is nothing I would rather be doing, so I came back. I always thought I would keep dancing until I started getting worse, but there is so much to learn that I still manage to keep improving each year.


Watching older professionals dance can teach you a lot. Cutting out a lot of the strain and embellishment that some younger dancers find necessary will not only bring roles within your reach, it will make you look much better.


Watching very young dancers teaches you too; the best ones don't even think about what they can't do, they just revel in what they can.


Think of it as a language. If studying and speaking Russian was enjoyable and useful to you, enriched your life, you certainly wouldn't give it up just because you thought you might never write the next Anna Karennina!

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Giselle, you have experienced a fundamental aspect of what it means to be a dancer, or an artist of any type. Art looks spontaneous, but it is actually the result of a very careful, deliberate process.


Believe me, those flexible teenagers you see are far from perfect dancers. Most of them (statistically, with no knowledge of your school) will probably never dance well enough to get hired by a professional company.


I've discovered this: excellence is not uncompromising perfection in every little detail to the detriment of the overall. Rather, it is a humble understanding of our limitations as human beings. And within those limitations, it is an obsessive drive toward a higher goal, a type of perfection we perceive and envision but never quite achieve.

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Guest Pamela Moberg

I don't know how old you are - are you born in 83?

Well, we all have our limitations. I had mine, I analyzed them and thought in stead of my qualities. You surely have some and then you must use them!

My problem was small jumps - couldnt do them nicely, with a bit of luck I managed - OK, I am 5'8''. Big jumps were OK, due to sheer power - turns, well, I will not go into detail here.

But my arms, upper back, shoulders, general port de bras was magnificent, if I may say so myself. I did "Dying Swan" and won medals.

So, I achieved something...

My advice to you: Look at the things you are good at, work hard at them, build up a confidence and then start working at the things you are not so good at. It will be a slow progress, but always think that you have a goal.

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OOoooooo the dying swan, wow. Whats your background? ,have you got any photos of you doing that? it sounds a wonderful experience to share with us on a new thread maybe??..hint hint..I know I would love to hear more :(

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Guest Giselle83

yes, I was born in 83(I take both adult and teenagers' classes), and yes I do perform. And I enjoy performing ALOT, and I really think I'm good at it. Sometimes it's just hard to go on stage and act like you're perfect when you have these feelings 'ops, suporting leg turned in!' or 'I wonder if I pointed my foot enough in that...'


However, I'm so thankful to all of you. It's great to read about other people's experiences! you really gave good advice! And I'm always ready to see new points of view too :-)

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Guest Pamela Moberg

Xena, sorry to disappoint you, but we are now talking about half a century ago - almost the dark ages. Otherwise, there is actually a portrait of me in swan costume on my home page. As they are so old by now I dont really feel like throwing old photos around. Anyway, thank you very much for your kind interest - my creaky old knees even managed a curtsy!

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Complete toddlewash ?? (whatever that is??) I would love to see your picture, maybe you can PM you webpage or send an e-mail to jeanettehobbs@hotmail.com, I would love to see more.

Ballerinas from those 'dark ages' are so beautiful and elegant, almost magical, or maybe thats just the way the photos were taken back then.

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Guest Antony
Originally posted by Giselle83

How do you deal with the fact that you won't ever be like those hyper flexible teenagers or that you won't ever reach a really high advaced level?  


I gave up worrying about this some time ago. All I can say is, you're not competing with other people, only yourself.


Look on the bright side - if you haven't got any extension, you can't lose it. ;)



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Myself, I deal with this problem with the attitude that even if I can't be perfect, I can, with hard work, be better than I am now.


I don't know what I will do if I hit a ceiling in my improvement - it will, I suppose, happen at least when my lifepath turns and I get so old that I start to lose my physical abilities. Probably I'll find that I can still improve in some senses, even when I lose at others? Or if not, find another artform. :cool:

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Guest Pamela Moberg

Dear Giselle83,

I am sorry, but not until now I noted that you are from Finland. Well, your English was so perfect. Anyway, I do not know if you also speak Swedish or if you find it easier to express yourself in Swedish. Maybe you only speak Finnish. But if you do understand Swedish, you could always mail me privately and we could discuss your problems in Swedish if this would be a bit easier for you. I love helping youngsters so this would not be a problem for me. Especially as you are a next door neighbour!

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Guest Pamela Moberg

How wise you are Jaana. I had to stop dancing - not old age, but injuries. So I turned it into something else - dance research. Because I did not want to leave the world of dance and theater and I am happy with this new occupation.

Indeed, there is no need to say a total good-bye to something, rather one should look for some connection - I found mine and it gives me a lot of fulfilment.

Once I saw a TV program about a grounded pilot and he said that he was perfectly happy "flying desks". Well, I am perfectly happy dancing the Internet.

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Guest attitudegirl

Okay, I may be crazy here, but I have a ToTally! different approach to this subject. I, too, used to be despondant over the fact that I did not look like the younger dancers I danced with. However, having a miraculous opportunity to actually be on stage one day really put the fire under my butt to train HARD! I am the most dedicated person at my studio, and the girls that I used to envy deeply envy me now. They are not dedicated, do not work very hard, and got killed in a pirouette-off contest where I successfully did a clean quadruple Pirouette (I"m so sorry, I had to brag to someone!). So, to make a long story short, I believe that we can get out of ballet what we put into it. I totally realize that just about everyone here works and has kids and cannot train like I do. What I mean is, know in your heart that if you were able to put so much time into it, you would eventually learn to do things that would completely amaze yourself. Even dancing on a very recreational level consistantly over time, you will amaze yourself. There is no reason to feel regret at having started so late, or not working harder when you were younger, or whatever, because the reality is, you are in the now wit hyour ballet and can do amazing th ings now!


P.S. to ADC dance campers of last year. I"m almost at my company goal! Three weeks! You woulnd't recognize the same long haired girl with the sprained ankle, I'm like a different dancer!

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