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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Is this normal?

Kate B

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Hi there,


I've just got in from a really wonderful but really hard work dance class, and I have gone from feeling wonderful to very very grumpy in the time it took me to go home (just over half an hour.) The style doesn't matter - this was a contemporary class, but I get this with ballet too. I did eat a snack on the way home, and I drank enough water.


Do you think I just had some sort of endorphin slump? Does anyone else get this? The class can be absolutely great fun and really hard work and super but afterwards you feel like shouting at your loved one (which I did, panicking that we didn't have any food for dinner, which was totally unfounded... :rolleyes: )


I am going to go and say I'm sorry now. :DB)


Does anyone know if this is normal, and is there a way of avoiding it?

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Normal or not -- nobody deserves that kind of treatment.


Just remember -- in the time you were at the dance studio, your partner was probably wishing that you were home and he probably wanted to see you. Coming home grumpy after being gone for 2 hrs or so is the worst possible thing you can do to a relationship.


Next time, on the way home, think about something nice that you can do instead of focusing on what is making you grumpy. The least you can do is to come home with a smile on your face waiting to hug your partner so that you can show him how much you have missed him.


And if you DIDN't miss him while you were gone...that might be a problem...

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Just a hint here, based on a hunch. Instead of the snack on the way home, have an apple or even better, a banana about an hour BEFORE the class and wash it down with a half-pint of orange juice. I think you might be experiencing some pains following the classes which are just below your threshhold of perception, but enough to affect your mood. Dancers have an unusually high threshhold of pain, and this perceptual phenomenon could be in play here.

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Kate, i have had this too and couldnt really understand why. I have also gone through this after work and had such a go at my parents - you could say that it could be put down to just a days work but this particular day i had worked with some of my friends had a great bunch of passengers on the plane but when i got home i wanted to scream at everyone. Hopefully for you it is just an endorphin thing. If it is happening quite a bit then maybe you could start keeping a record of it and see if a pattern emerges, it could be anything from hormones (pmt) to early signs of diabetes ( a very good friend of mine used to go through this and found she had diabetes ) but hey i am not a doctor so what do i know but it might be worth looking for a pattern.


We all have days where we flip out at people (usually ones dearest to us) for no reason whatsoever, try not to let it get on top of you remember you can always make it up to your loved one.......... :rolleyes: .


Skippy x

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Yes, I think this is normal... as with any other "high," coming down from that endorphin rush can be a real downer. What I find helps is doing a real cooldown... after some post-class stretches, I try to fit in a brisk 10-20 minute walk. Generally, I do that by not catching the bus I take home at the stop closest to the studio, but instead picking it up later along its route. (I find this also helps the day-after-class aches and pains). If all else fails, you can always warn your significant other to make a habit of giving you a little breathing room when you get back from dance class!

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Kate, I don't think your situation is abnormal. A friend of mine who used to be a dancer always used to feel very good in class and then very depressed by about half an hour after the class. I experience that to a lesser degree, i.e., it takes a longer time after exercising to come down from the high, and if I take care to eat something high in protein after I'm done exercising, I can avoid the serious blues.


I can't recommend anything to do about the problem since I only know what works for me, but I can assure you you're not alone. I think the suggestion about explaining the situation to your partner is a good one.

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I couldn't tell from your first post, but it seemed implied, that it mostly happens after a particularly good class?


This mood shift happens to me too, only after good classes. I think it's the realization that I have to go back to real life where I'm always trying to do several things at once, and everything seems MOST important.


In addition to checking for physiological patterns, maybe thought patterns would be good too?

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I think it's the realization that I have to go back to real life where I'm always trying to do several things at once, and everything seems MOST important.

Thanks, everyone, it's good to know that this is not abnormal. I'll give these things a try, but this idea from Dido struck the biggest chord. In class, especially one I really enjoy, or one where I work very hard I forget about EVERYTHING else in my life. Probably one of the things I should do before class is plan the rest of my evening so I don't have to think about doing several things the minute I get in the door. :wink:


And I did chat to my loved one straight after posting last night and apologise for my bad behaviour. I am forgiven! :rolleyes:

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I think that for anyone who loves ballet and also works in a job totally unrelated to it, there can be a definite letdown. I find that it's not just the transition from dance to work, but the transition from the kind of people I dance with to the kind of people I work with. The former are far more upbeat and more kindred spirits. The latter often seem like aliens to me. This could factor into that feeling.

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Just wanted to add one more thing, for me when I leave a particularly good class the let down feeling is always accompanied by "my reach exceeds my grasp" depression. I'm not beating myself up or anything, but I think for me there's always a strong awareness of exactly how good I can be -- and how far short of what I want my best really is. (This is no doubt helped along by all those nutritional-energy expending-low level pain-and endorphin let down factors discussed above).


One of the parents in their "I think it's because of ballet..." thread mentioned that it taught her daughter that life isn't fair. And for me, in addition to going back to clutter, and stress and roommates and messy old life from the ballet studio, I get hit with a "Wait. Life really ISN'T fair," realization, and no matter how mature and philosophical I get it's still depressing. :wink:


I'm not sure if it's a bad thing, maybe just something the serious-yet totally recreational adult dancer has to deal with? Like mirrors and smelly shoes.

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Kate B Thank you! I thought that I was the only one and that there was something severly wrong with me! I have tried to eat on the way home as well as before class and drink lots of water. But I think that I've come up with that the reason is only that I'm tired, and usually my bad mood also comes after a good class. My theory is that you have probably worked extra hard after a good class so you are just super tired (otherwise you wouldn't consider that class "good"). Not enough sleep gives the same effect on me as not enough food=I get all moody and difficult to deal with. So I think it is the same thing with a hard class as not getting enough sleep.


Your hubby/boyfriend has my boyfirends sympathies :wink:

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Guest CyberDancer

I find that while I feel I am always the same person, sometimess I need to wipe my emotional slate clean when I move from one environment to another.


When I go from work to dance I need a period of time to adjust -- to move from a logic oriented environment to a more intuitive/emotive/physical environment, and to recharge my emotional batteries from a lonnnnnnng day so that I have something to give when I dance.


Then, if I have things to do when I leave class, I experience a similar adjustment -- realigning myself with the realities outside of dance; the more that I have "lost" myself in class, the greater the transistion.


One suggestion -- have your significant other join you in dance class (????).

It will ease the transition between "the real world" and dance.


If not, just allow yourself the time to adjust. Focus on the joys of the environment that you are moving into, and let the positives from dance move forward with you -- then you won't have so much of a "crash and burn" feeling when you reset you mind from dance to "everything else"...

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I would note what you ate before and after class to see what keeps your spirit up. Some protein or fruit may do something different that a peice of bread will. If i eat any swwets before class, i get the classic sugar rush and bonk.



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Guest Nicole Foss

I go through the same thing quite often, only mine are related to mild bi-polar disorder (or should I say a trigger). Dance classes are always a high for me, and as was mentioned before, my job is completely unrelated to dance, and those I work with... let's say that we don't have much in common. It's always worse if I've had an unresolved arguement with hubby, 'cause I have to leave class and finish arguing. Now that I have my puppy, things are getting better, because no matter what, he can always bring a smile to my face.

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