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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Work and ballet


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Why does work always seem to get in the way of me doing ballet? Hmmm? Its not a big thing to ask.

It's just I'm starting to resent work because it stops me doing ballet or other forms of exercise and enjoyment.

I enjoy dancing so much more than my job and every day wish away the hours until class.

I don't want my work to suffer but I think it is. However, when I don't do ballet I am more miserable and hate work even more.


Does anyone else find this? or is it just me?

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Sometimes, I do. But I try to a) remember that I like my work too, and B) think that I work in order to get money to do all the good things. Usually either a) or B) helps (though not always).

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Xena, it's not just you. I quit my job just before Christmas because I couldn't cope with the conflict of interest anymore. I was supposed to work shifts between 7am and 10pm but when I started doing more classes and saying "Sorry, I can't do Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday past 4pm, and I can't do Saturdays either." they weren't too pleased. wink.gif I can see it from their point of view that it's a business and I needed to be flexible, blah, blah but this is BALLET we are talking about! Don't they realise I can't just miss class because they want me to work?!


Luckily I had enough money saved to be able to quit when I got really fed up, and now i'm looking for a part time job, just mornings to fund the ballet habit.


If one is at a point where ballet is the most important thing, I think one needs to reconcile the need to go to the classes with the need to pay for the classes. Is working part time an option for you? On a 4 day week you might not get so tired and resent your work, and you would have a day free to shop/write letters/do laundry/whatever else gets left behind when you are at work all day and class all evening.


If not, at least you know you aren't the only one pointing your toes under the desk/ doing releves behind the counter/ pose turns on your lunch break! smile.gif

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If only I could...I made a choice years ago to be a scientist, and here I am PhD in hand, at Stanford doing just that. But I want a life as well. A lot of people who work here tend to seem to live at work and hence expect others to do just that, and I can't give that sort of commitment. I don't want to be here on a Sunday morning, I want to be at ballet, or anywhere but work. I just wish employers would acknowledge the fact that some of their employees enjoy doing other things, other than work. I am a post-doctor so my hours are variable, just before christmas I worked 39 hours straight...and I felt awful.

I hear of people who are MDs and who do actually dance with a dance company..obviously not a big one. frown.gif


I guess if you are a ballet dancer, you are at work on a sunday morning doing ballet

smile.gif I wonder if they ever feel 'if only I could go and do such and such instead of being here this morning?'

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Well choices aren't always final... I have a BA Hons. in English - that was a bad choice as I haven't done anything with it! But I'm thinking about doing post-grad in Ballet Studies - how is that for combining work and passion!


Employers really do think work is everything. I often wondered at the fact that, so, they didn't appreciate how important ballet is to me, but didn't they have anything comparable, like football/karate/embroidery that they absolutely had to do? Even seeing their family once in a while?


I bet dancers do wish they were somewhere else sometimes. I'm pretending to lead a dancer's life right now,(admittedly very part time and amateur dancer!) as I have no job and my only commitment is class and rehearsal, and believe me when you are in a class where the teacher is trying to create and rehearse a completely insane dance on two different casts, you want to just get back to doing peaceful plies at the barre! ("Didn't I say start with the right foot behind? Pas de bouree under with the front foot! Turn en dehors on the front foot... the FRONT!!!)" Bet the teachers want to be somewhere else sometimes too... wink.gif

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I completely sympathize. I work in television, an industry that all but demands you be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I'm very fortunate to have somewhat of a reputation in town, so I often have my pick of jobs. That made things very easy for me after my "discovery" of ballet last winter.


This past fall I was in a unique position of having several offers of work. It allowed me to choose a job that allowed me to have a paycheck and a life as well. Truly, a rare thing in this business. Thank God I chose wisely. My show is the top rated new show this year and I could be in a good position for a nice run.


I've been on both sides now: having a job that allowed me a life, and having jobs that sucked every bit of life out of me. I've learned over time the latter is not the way to work. I decided I'd go stock shelves at Ralphs (a grocery store chain) before I allowed myself to have the life sucked out of me again for the sake of a paycheck. The attitude is quite liberating. It even shows up at work in the form of a renewed attitude of integrity in myself and my department. And no, I'm not independently whealthy, so the few times I've acted and quit jobs because they were too grueling I've done so at great risk to my finances. But I've always come out ahead emotionally.


Discovering dance was like a light going off in my head. It rippled though my body, my emotions and my entire life. Friends have commented repeatedly over the last year how different a person I am these days, more centered, more content.


While I would move the world to get to classes, I now know that classes will always be there. I can miss a few days because of my schedule and it's not going to have dire side effects of consequences.


Xena, I know the days I am most frustrated about not getting to class are the days the stress of work is out of control, when my "fear-flee" responses are in full force whispering in my head, "Get the Hell out of there now." This is happening less and less though. But I'd venture to say your feelings now are more centered in your dissatisfaction with your job, or at least the hours it demands. Perhaps it's time to review exactly what kind of scientist you want to be and where. I only say this with the best of intentions because I've been to that emotinal place.


I once went out of my way to land easilly the choicest of jobs in my field on (at the time) TV's hottest show. Despite over 300 applicants, I was the first of only two hired. I was thrilled beyond belief. I though I'd make the earth move to do that job and give everything I had every day. Five months later I crawled away depleted, exhausted and emotionally broken by hours and stresses I could not have foreseen. You know a job is tough when you don't even have time to cash your paycheck for weeks at a time (lol.) I look back on that experience now and use it as the barometer by which I measure all offers. I won't do that to myself anymore.


Ballet and classes do not dictate my life, but it does help me balance it out. It's my escape and my passion. Work helps pay for that passion. I've long held that opinion that I work to live to work.

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Guest beckster

I think I'm quite lucky at the moment, because (as Xena surely knows) PhD students really can pick the hours they work. So if you want to leave early to go to ballet, you can come in earlier in the morning. Of course you have the days where you absolutely have to be in the lab at 7am or the experiment you've been working on for three weeks will keel over and die, and the times when you have to be there at the weekends, but for the most part you can balance your work with the other things you want to do. Then again, you are talking to the person who is willing to forgo a social life (the traditonal Friday night post-work drinks) in order to go to ballet at 9am on a Saturday morning!

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Beckster, I think you've hit on an aspect of avocation vs. career that makes anything, but is especially visible in ballet, a valuable resource to a worker. A happy worker is a more efficient, more reliable worker, and can bring more of the mind to the job at hand. As the opposite side of the same coin, the happy hobbyist will excel at the hobby, and will bring positive "vibes" from the workplace into the hobby, so we're faced with a sort of synergy here. One thing feeds the other practically ad infinitum.


And I know those experiments you refer to. The "Friday Effect" is especially well-known in chemistry, where a method is established, but the reaction time is unknown, but once the reaction starts, it will take 72 hours straight of careful monitoring and results sampling. Friday Effect runs like this: Monday-nothing, Tuesday-nothing, Wednesday-nothing, Thursday-nothing, then at 3:30 on Friday afternoon - bubble, bubble-bubble, BUBBLE-BUBBLE! Away she goes! wink.gif

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OH yeah too right frown.gif

Normally 10 minutes prior to going home though is what I find. So Normally I leave 10 minutes before the 10 minutes i normally leave confused.gif and then you can avoid that..sometimes. Oh well, Iam trying now to work hard so that I can really appreciate going to ballet. Kind of like a reward system. I have to get this and this done or no ballet. So I have to reprimand myself a lot.

Like I have to work from now until tomorrow morning, no shut eye unfortuantely. But I knwo I have to work hard so I can go to ballet tomorrow evening after a couple of hours of sleep.

I just need encouragement and you guys are helping a lot


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This all sounds so familair. I run two business' as well as race bicycles. I have only two rules for ballet.

Rule #1 The more of the better. why settle for two classes a week when I can squeeze in three.


Rule #2 I don't allow for any interuptions. I leave all comminucations equipment at home or the office. Even a cell phone vibrating in my bag would drive me nuts.


Each class feels like a two week holiday, so I put everything that I have into each class.


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Guest beckster

I think it is very true that people who have an "extra-curricular" activity they enjoy tend to be better workers. I am very lucky that I love my work (it feels like a job even though I'm officially a student) and I love ballet and I can do both without one taking up too much time from the other. I am definitely a happier working person during ballet term ... biggrin.gif


Do you think that if I took yet another ballet class a week I would be a happier housemate too and not mind that I live with people who think that washing up is optional? wink.gif

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Well I'm sitting here and its 2:30pst, I have ballet in oh....17 hours..tick tick tick.....

Don't get me wrong, I love my work. Its just, well I don't know. I feel all deflated and uninspired. Although, thanks to Tim (lola_doggy) I am now enjoying my new ballet school, and it has kind of injected something, perhaps a bit of inspiration into me, or else i wouldn't be sitting here now. Although I do wonder if it is all worth it! sigh...

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Guest maria_roche

Oh I am so glad for this thread... I really did think I was the only person pointing my toes under the desk, and doing pirouettes in the bathrooms.


I just started a new job, and everyone works later here, and I feel like a criminal when I leave the office at 5:30pm to go to ballet. I started getting in at 8am and not taking lunch: but people don't notice that, they just notice you leaving!


Ballet is the only thing keeping me sane, helping me lose weight and get fit. And I know I am a better worker when I have done 4 classes that week, but I feel more energised, my concentration is higher and I am far more amenable!


I was sorry to hear about the PHD interfering with ballet. I have just done my BA and MA at Oxford, and I had hoped that returning to academia (to do a DPhil) would allow me to have more spare to time to dance. My illusions have now all been shattered!


Dancers are so lucky. It is really amazing to be able to do the thing that you love all day! I think it was Confuscious who said that if you pick a job you love, you never work a day in your life. Sadly, I seem to work every day!

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I think ballet may make you more efficient in other areas of your life because it allows you to completely "switch off" from everything else. When I am in class, there is no way I ever think about anything else but ballet, even if I have been worrying all day about something. Whereas if you just go home and watch TV or whatever (even swimming is terrible for me because I have so much time to think, paddling up and down!), your mind is still active and running through the events of the day. So I think ballet is enormously beneficial because it lets you forget everything and gives you a break.


As if I need another excuse to take more classes! wink.gif

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Guest Kermita

I know what you mean, Lolly. I take 4 classes a week and it's like being in an entirely different world. It's the one time when I can forget work and relax. It also give me an excuse to turn off my cell phone! My supervisor was gone all last month and I could only take 2 classes a week. I thought I was going to go crazy in between classes!

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