Jump to content
Ballet Talk for Dancers

Company Life: Age

Guest DanceDreamer

Recommended Posts

Guest DanceDreamer

Hi! I know that ballet can be physically hard on the body, so I was wondering: at what age would ballet become harmful to the body?


Thanx for your reply!

Link to comment

At the very same age one starts forcing turnout, sitting into the hips, and failing to do a deep enough demi-plié after jumps. Now that age can be 6, 16, or 60! Just as there is a specialty about teaching very young children, there is also a knack to teaching adults.

Link to comment
  • 3 weeks later...

Okay y'all. Fess up. Did you have a singular experience that told you when to retire? Did you wait to be asked or did you have a plan in mind? My retirement was very eventful, and I'm wondering how it was for others, particularly because I'm pretty sure I'm going to come out of retirement this fall for our company's 25th anniversary season. Input, puh-leeeeze, especially if you also retired, then returned. First one to respond gets the Brave Soul Award.

Link to comment

My arabasque went! Can't dance well without arabasque. Also, my ankles after 4 surguries were very brittle. My last year I couldn't land from jumps with my heels down which created a whole new set of problems. Dancing in pain and the prospect of lowering my standard was too difficult and not an option. No regrets- I loved my career, feel fortunate for having it, and enjoy my new one, still involved in the art I love.

Link to comment

Thank you, Alina. Please -- and others too -- tell about your transition from performing, whether it still be in the dance world, or if you went into something unrelated.


In recent years, I've become friends with several people who still have/had a good bit of 'dance in them' and I was always interested to know why they retired when they clearly still had the stuff.

Link to comment

I think you will find that “retirement”, whether it is dance or any other job or activity, is often related to personality characteristics. Some people just have a stick to it nature. You almost have to tell them to quit or take away their opportunities to perform to get them to stop. If their skills deteriorate, they find ways to compensate; they find unique characteristics to emphasize. You might say their focus is on preserving what they have and adapting.


Other individuals have a more futuristic orientation toward life. They see themselves changing, if not in skill, in motivation, interest, or image and they move on to something new. Often such people are extremely talented or extremely disciplined about their work. I often think of them as oscillating stars. They burn bright here for a while, then dim and move to another place and burn bright again.


And for neither of these personality types is their skill or love for the activity any different. The difference is just in how they think of the future.

Link to comment

Thank you for that thoughtful response. This topic is of great interest to me. I'm also particularly interested in finding out about others who had second winds in their dance careers -- who left and returned later for a "last hurrah."


I know that sometimes a not so pleasant event can trigger the retirement. This did not happen to me, but I took class in recent years with a man who was just wonderful. All the technique was still there -- clean, polished, down to his fingertips. And could he turn!!! We always took the same place at barre, and I eventually asked him a bit about why he left (he was now a lawyer). He told me he was dancing for a company in NY (I won't say which one because it would be too recognizable), and there was a single incident with the director, about which I also won't go into detail. He never wanted to allow someone to try to humiliate him 'for sport' again. He quit dancing completely for a year or two -- this was all while in his 20s. Then he started law school and continued taking class on the side. By the time we met, he was in his late 30s. I urged him to at least get involved on a smaller scale in some local performances. I went to see him perform on two occasions -- he didn't look happy and free, like he did in class, and I told him that on the second occasion. He seemed relieved to have tried it and confirmed for himself that he was happiest in class, rather than on stage at this point.


Sometimes we think that all someone needs to keep going is the essential technique. But there does become a point in many of our lives when we are most content taking class as an end in itself. I also think that, sometimes, performing is like writing -- a pain at the time we do it, but something we're happy to have done in retrospect.

Link to comment
  • 5 months later...
Guest EnPointeForLife

I have a male friend who I think is going to have bad knees because although he's an awesome dancer, he almost never plies when he comes down from jetes. I pray for his health every day!!!

Link to comment

I agree.....ballet becomes harmful when the dancer neglects their health. I knew a teacher that had to be at least 60 years old and she started at around 50. She still teaches, but takes incredible care of her body and is flourishing.

Link to comment

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...