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Ballet Talk for Dancers

selfish about ballet?


kellylynn

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This may sound a little ridicoulous. However, a very good friend of mine, who was mostly a jazz dancer started coming to class with me. Within two classes she was hooked and even started talking about how she wants to start taking class every day, going to SI's, and believes that within a few months she is going to start talking to the faculty at our studio about going on pointe. (yeah i know i kinda told her that she needs to work at that for a lot longer than two classes. lol. ) Instead of starting off slowly and easing back into it I feel like I have created a monster. At first I was overjoyed with the opportunity to share my passion of ballet and be able to rekindle someone else's love for ballet and dance...but now I kind of feel like..."wait, no...this is MY thing. Find your own thing." I also have my own little routine when I go to ballet. The route i take, the music I listen to in the car on the way, the streches I do while waiting for class, the people I chat with. Now, she is there, blabbling about how she wants to become a professional dancer at age 26! She comes to every class I go to (except for the intermeddiate ones), she is planning on spending a fortune on dancewear, and what else can I say? You get the hint. She is out of control and it's only been like....a few days! I just wish I can keep it "my thing." Am I a horrible friend? And has this happened to anyone???? Am I just being a baby? I can't help but feel a little violated by it all. And thats a guilty feeling because I should be happy that I now have someone to be addicted to ballet with. :)

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No, in my opinion you are not a bad friend or baby or anything like that. I also do not think you have to tolerate her disrupting your routines; I think it would be perfectly ok to tell her that you want/need some quiet before class, etc, and ask her not to chat when you are concentrating. And, of course, telling her gently one does not become a ballet professional if one starts at the age of 26 is definitely within reason! Other than that, I'd just wait it to blow over. In my experience, many people who like ballet go a bit too nuts about it at one point or another, but it usually calms down to tolerable levels soon. ;)

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Kellylynn, I know the feeling you 're talking about and I don't think that you are being selfish.

 

I agree with Jaana Heino, you are not obliged to tolerate her behavior and you could politely explain to her that she has no potential of becoming a professional.

I personally don't have any friends who are interested in ballet (now that I think about it it is kind of strange), but I have certainly felt the same way as far other activities are concerned.

 

If I had a friend who would act like your friend,I would probably feel the same way. And for me the reason behind that would be that I have spent lots of time and effort learning ballet and I would definitely be frustrated if someone behaved like they "own" the art just within a few days..

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Wow! Talk about zealousness!

 

This might be a tough situation for you for a while. I heard a great quote once, "The candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long". Maybe she's all gung-ho now, but perhaps her interest will fade just as quickly as it came on.

Perhaps you can change your routine up a bit before class. Tell her that you can't drive her in because you have to do errands or something and that you'll see her there. That way you can listen to whatever music you like in the car and also have a little bit of "me" time.

As far as her wanting to be a pro, I guess you can be supportive as you want, but I'm sure the last word will come from your instructors. Maybe they will give her a realistic view. Even so, with pointe shoes. When she approaches them, they might tell her that pointe is not possible at this time.

As far as her spending money on dance accoutrements, let her go for it. It's her cash. She can spend it as she pleases.

 

Good Luck.

 

 

LMD

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I agree with LMD. Take it easy. Can I read some jealousy between the lines? No need for envy here, as LMD said, if she wants to spend money on dance clothes - it's all her cash.

 

Try to find some positive points about having a new ballet friend. I am sure she will appreciate your advice for technique questions, etc. If she really wants to take classes every day you will not be able to stop her anyway. Make the best out of it and don't get stressed out - if you are tense you will certainly not doing well in class.

 

Parts of my doctoral research is focused on jealousy/envy in the ballet class (in training at elite ballet conservatoires). Talking about the 'problem' can help. Try to talk to her how you feel and see how she is reacting. Let us know how it goes

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I wouldn't say it is jealousy. And it really has nothing to do with spending money on clothing. I mean....i spend alot of money on clothing...more than i should or need to at least. I think i forgot to mention that she is not only a friend of mine but my roomate. I LIVE with her. So it's been ballet overload at my apt latley. I think its just that ballet is something i sort of always did on my own and its the one thing i like to do that doesn't require other people. I'm not jealous of her mostly because i don't really get jealous when it comes to ballet. I am always so awed and inspired by dancers with more experience than me. It's more of a good productive jealously. And I wouldnt be jealous of her, because in that situation I am the one with more experience. I guess maybe it could be that she is a very competitive person and I just don't want to get competitive with her in ballet because thats not why i do it. I have no idea why I feel that way. Like i said, its a guilty feeling because I know its silly to feel that way. And it would be nice to have someone to go to class with and share the passion with. I defiently do not want to stop her. If she wants to become a serious ballet student I will support her. I think maybe i just need some "ballet space." :rolleyes:

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I think I understand your frustration especially since you mentioned she was your roommate (sounds a bit like ballet was your YOU time), but I wouldn't be amazed if she doesn't mellow out a bit rather soon. If it was me I would just take a deep breath and put up with it for a week or two more figuring it would fade by then and if she was still that gung ho talk to her about it. The competition would ruin it for me too, I like a little nudge of it once in a while but more as inspiration.

As for telling her it is unrealistic to become pro at her age I wouldn't... she'll learn that fast enough on her own... coming from you she'll probably just think you are trying to damper her spirits.

 

anyway good luck and hope it all sort itself out!

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ooo, I know what you mean about competitive people, the sort who will turn any activity or situation into a chance to compare themselves to you. How annoying! I don't have any good advice for you (other than patience - it is likely to tone down after a few weeks), but wanted to sympathize.

 

I hope that you are still able to get some good out of the ballet. Chin up and remember what a good person you are for putting up with all this! :sweating:

 

jayo

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Guest prokofiev

Sounds like reasonable, normal feelings to me. Don't feel bad for needing your space and routines. I would encourage her to create her own space instead of emphasizing the need for yours, though, at least to her. Help her find her own music, her own stretches, her own warmups... maybe give her a foot roller/therabands/tennis ball, whatever and stress the importance of a "check-in-to-your-body" quiet session before every class. (Maybe in the context of, "you can improve your technique faster by focusing on your alignment and muscle groups on your own before and after class...") Be sure to savor your classes when she's not there. Also maybe help her find her own spot at the barre (far away from you) - use the "skinny mirror/fat mirror" idea to your advantage here, or that since you are such good friends, you're distracted by how fun it is to have her there (!) and it'd be easier to work hard if you weren't in the same group in center... you get the idea.

 

In other words, the "glomming-on" will decrease once her initial fanaticism wears off and she's into the daily reality; she won't need the competition and clingy-ness once she's secure in her own routines. If you help her establish those you'll get your space back and be a good friend all at the same time.

 

And on the shopping... well, if her enthusiasm wanes, you'll get some good hand-me-down loot!! and she sticks with it, hey, cool gear is part the fun. (All of the fun on some days!)

 

My final thought is that everyone goes through "BALLET IS MY LIFE!!" phases that are usually followed by "If I hadn't paid so &^$#! much for tuition, I would much rather be on the couch right now!!" phases. Most adult students don't make it past the first slump phase, and if/when they do, the next "Ballet is my life!" phase is more mellow and quietly intense, without the caps lock on. :thumbsup:

 

Cheers and good luck! :P

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yeah, things have calmed down a bit. she has weird phases though. its like one day shes a ballet lunitic and then she will stop talking about it the next day. It's mostly the night she takes class and the next day. I did take a trip into the city for a class during memorial day weekend and she declined to come. i even took an earlier more advanced class one night while she went to the slower one that followed. so she has taken class without me which is good. she is now talking about taking like five classes a week. i did tell her that maybe she should stick with no more than three for a few months or she will lose interest. I was like...."if you really want this (to go on pointe and get to an advanced level) ease into it, because it will be better for you in the long run. I hope i was right by saying that. I mean i did ballet for many years as a child and teen and i started out very slow at first. taking two beginner classes a week, then moving up to three. Then adding in some adv. beg and intermediate. thanks for all the great replies! hopefully she wont find out about this website and read this! :)

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My impression is that your advice was right. I have heard people who should know explain that you face a serious risk of injury if you start a new physical thing too hard, without giving your body the time to adjust, and I have also seen it happen (luckily no personal experience).

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Well, if she was a jazz dancer, and in pretty good shape, 5 classes of ballet a week isn't really overkill, in my opinion

 

I say it's her business. If your friend wants to take a bunch of ballet classes and enjoys them, I don't see how that should affect your life at all. So what if she burns out. Why should this be disruptive to your life?

 

My roomate and I are both serious ballet dancers, hoping for some professional jobs. "Advising" one another is NOT a good idea, no matter how right you think you are. As a friend, you can listen if someone wants to talk about thier problems...I usually offer advice only when asked, and in that case, I am honest and straightforward. But only when asked. Home should be safe. Even when it's roomates sharing an apartment...it's "home". I always tell myself that when there's some "little annoyance" we could get angry with each other about. Ignore it. Life's too hard to have a tense home life.

 

By the way, I'm older than 26, and still holding out hope that I can dance. It's my dream and passion, it harms no one, and it's good for my health and body anyway. None of my friends,coworkers, or family seems to think I'm wrong in wanting this. It's my money, I'm an adult, and if that's how I choose to spend my time, who cares? Maybe it's been your friend's secret dream since childhood. Why burst her bubble? Arghhh...I sound like my mom.

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lampwick, don't mind, for if you sound like your Mom, she obviously is a very wise woman. ;)

 

I did not mean to say that five classes a week might be too much for any particular person, let alone this one lady I have not ever seen... Certainly most of those people who go to intensive schedules are quite fine and do not hurt themselves, and being in shape physically certainly helps there.

 

And you are right, of course there is the question of when giving correct advice is the correct thing to do... I certainly have received many valuable pieces of advice from my more experienced ballet friends, and I am glad they chose to advice me - some of those things are such that it would not have occured me to ask - but of course, sometimes advice might just hurt and be counterproductive.

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i wouldnt call her a jazz dancer. she is a person who has taken dance classes in various forms throughout her childhood and teens...including ballet. although i do not believe she surpassed a beg level in ballet but she might have in other dance forms. and lampwick you are correct. she loves dancing and was so happy that i introduced it into her life again, but i think everyone here is missing my point entirely. Its not that i dont want her to dance. I am not jealous of her by all means. I did not tell her to not take more than 2 classes, i just told her that if she starts taking five classes a week and she hasnt danced in a decade she might want to slow down to avoid burnout. I also do not give a hoot on what she does with her time or her money. I guess its hard to explain because you dont know her. If you did know her then you would understand. shes just annoying. she is very annoying in class. she very very very chatty. anything that i have ever mentioned about anyone that i take ballet with (including teachers) she will bring up during conversation with them. she copies everything i do, down to what i wear, how i put my hair up, how i strech at the barre. Its just driving me insane. i think i figured it out though. i want my ballet life separate from other parts of my life. maybe it really is just that simple. so im sorry if i got you going lampwick. you are right though. it all boils down to what we learned in grammer school...."mind your own business." So im going to do just that.

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although it must be so frustrating for you, what she is doing right now, you could also look at it another way. "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery"?? maybe your roomate sees your passion and love for ballet and has given it a go herself because she too would love to have that same thing. the way that she copies every last detail about you certainly makes me think that, and maybe her bringing up details of previous conversations is her way of trying to impress others by showing she is interested in them.

you know that as she's only just started she will always be a few steps behind you, and so i definately don't think jealousy is an issue. however, i do agree with the others in that she probably will face burnout sooner or later. even if she doesn't, it's simply not possible with all ability difference between you to take classes the same every week. although ballet is "your" thing, be flattered she wants to try it because you love it, but also try and ride it out because it will calm down. and if it doesn't, then maybe try chatting to her.

have you tried joining in with some of her activites? she may not actually realise how she is being but it would be a more subtle way of demonstrating that it's ok to have your own actitivites away from each other.

good luck and let us know how it goes!! :shhh:

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