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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Strictly Frustration


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Before you read, please understand that I am simply dumping all of my frustrations into one place. And since I didn't want to write a novel on the Whine Couch, I just figured I'd start a new thread. I apologize for any of the things that I say politically incorrectly. Really, I'm just frustrated at this point. So, please, forgive this post. I'm just venting



This is not my world.

I am completely foreign here. I am a first year Spanish student stranded in Mexico. I am a catholic school girl on the streets of Baghdad. I am SO Lost. And what is most frustrating is that -I have been here for five years-.


Do you -know- how many people I have heard say "I've been dancing for five years" and they -fly-. Their legs touch the back of their head. Their jumps are thirty feet off the ground. No, their technique isn't perfect, but at least it's performable! Meanwhile, I limp around the dance floor, and feel the pitying smiles of my comrades.


Comrades. This isn't my world! I don't truly understand the lingo, the rules, or even the etiquette. I study from a distance, I curtsy when everyone else does, and still feel like I'm on the outside.


I guess what adds to my frustration is that I'm a professional performer. I have been on stage my entire life. I am a paid actress, a damn good singer, a voice teacher, an acting coach. I know what I'm doing! I can captivate an audience, I have played parts ranging from Rizzo to Dorothy.


And I'm not good enough! Because I can't dance!


I'm crippled. I am so tired of being a "handicapped" dancer because every teacher I've had minus one treats me like a handicapped dancer! No, my spine doesn't move. My spine is solid, and has no flexibility minus the last two vertebrae. Does that mean never? Must I throw away my dreams of auditioning for professional theatre companies because I simply cannot learn? It's not possible?


I LOVE watching dance. And I ache inside to see the dancers fly, spin, jump, leap....I long to simple look good. I played Anita in West Side Story. I watched the tape of "Mambo" and "America".....and it was awful. Sure, the audience said it was fun......but although I could sing it, and act it....I couldn't dance it. And that hinders me. And I hate it.


I want so much to belong. To be a part of it. It feels like dancers have their own little world. And they know each other, who belongs, who doesn't. They never say anything, but I can see it in their eyes. "Her kick is off.....she's not one of us". I want to learn! And I try.....but I just don't try enough, apparently. Because I still can't do it.


Now, after this post, will I quit dancing? No....I can't. I can't stop. I won't succeed, but I have to at least pretend. It's for my career. It's my life. I will never dance on Broadway. But I can't admit that to myself. Because I want to dance. But when I dance, I want to dance -well-. And I'm so afraid that will never happen.



EDIT: It didn't take me long to realize that the problem lies in myself. I'm not giving enough. I have such gifts, gifts others yearn for, I suppose....but I take them for granted. And I'm sorry.


Again, whoever reads this post, I'm sorry. I'm not trying to offend anyone.....I am just very frustrated at the moment, and I'm just writing it all down. My deepest apologies.

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What strikes me after reading this post of yours is that I've heard this refrain before, even from dancers with perfect facility, beautiful feet and legs, and the envy of their peers. Insecurity runs side-by-side with dancers I'm afraid.


Sadly, by the time we figure out what a waste of energy and time it is, and long after it could make a difference, it dawns on us that if only we had let go of the doubts, we would have accomplished more.


I believe you set yourself up for failure. You are extremely talented in these other areas of your life that you've studied for years, and yet you expect perfection of yourself as a dancer after only 5 years of ballet raining...that's the equivalent of a 11 yr. old child if you've studied for the exact same number of hours as a child has.


Stop thinking in terms of years, and start thinking in terms of hours, and accomplishments. Look at the glass as half full; what have you improved on? What do you do well in ballet? Stop separating yourself from your peers by virtue of the story you've created in your mind of what you have decided they are thinking.


If that doesn't work, then I shall slap you lightly on both your cheeks, remind you that you're lucky to be able to dance at all, as you are doing an activity that most people can only dream of doing, and that there are people confined to wheelchairs who might gladly change places with you. :thumbsup:

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I was very sorry to read that dance is not your world because you see, it is definitely my world. It has been my world so long that I have learned to be continually amazed at how little I will ever be able to understand about dance in only one lifetime.


Like you, I know those dancers whose legs touch the back of their heads. I also know other dancers, like myself, whose legs are lucky to find the floor with any consistency. My world seems big enough for both.


Being part of the dance world, it may be difficult to believe, but unlike you, I’ve never been paid to perform anything. My singing is most in demand by the local weather warning system in case the sirens aren’t working. My acting ability qualifies me for a wide range of roles from fence post to a headless chicken. I don’t get many offers but I guess those juicy roles are just difficult to come by.


Unlike you, I know I belong, I have no doubt I am part of it all. When everyone else quits, I’m the one that keeps showing up. As far as what I may look like in the eyes of others, it’s a little difficult for me to tell you. I can’t see that well without my glasses and I don’t wear them when I dance.


I’m sorry to hear that you will never dance on Broadway. Just last month I was visiting around Union Square. I found myself on Broadway, around 18th. I stopped right in the middle of the sidewalk and did a little softshoe. Someone yelled what a great job I was doing, at least that’s what I think he said. I’m a little hard of hearing. It's mostly music I can't hear.


I wish you the best of luck. You have nothing to be sorry for, nothing to apologize for. If you really want to become part of my wonderful world of dance, most importantly, keep a sense of humor.

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Irishprincess, I can hear your longing to be a triple threat. And I think you already are..


Besides, I always use Wicked as my inspiration after seeing it on Broadway in March this year. Several of the dancers were squat, old and not waif-like. So.. anyone can dance! (I think it's the matter of having the connections ;-))


Also, a lot of musical theatre leads have minor dancing part. And I think you've implied that you take intermediate ballet, so at least you're at that level. It took me many years to get to where I can say I'm an intermediate dancer :thumbsup: More then 5 years.


I love musical theatre too, and I take singing classes, and perform improv too. I think we've a similar interests.


I think.. I don't know. It's expectations. It's having the right expectation for a particular artform, and if you expect too much and push yourself too fast, you'll just be disappointed. Be happy where you are right now. It's enough.


If you do find that it stops being fun. Then stop and take a break. I took some time off from improv theatre because it got to the point where people (including me) were being too critical. overanalyzing shows. Wondering if the audience hated me. It's just a useless exercise. I realized then that it's my art. And it's about making me happy. In the end, you do it for yourself. And no one else.

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Cheer up Irishprincess! Aren't we all in the same boat here? :D


Being an optimistic person, this is what I tell myself when I cringe at my ugly self in the mirror in a dance class; "Gosh, THANK GOD I am not a professional dancer, and I am good at what I do in my profession!"

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Thank you all, sincerely, from the bottom of my heart. I was really quite afraid of the responses after my little "temper tantrum", and you have all lifted me up greatly.


I do truly hate the fact that this entire board can't just come together and have a dance class......to dance next to all of you would be a true inspiration, and I'm sure, a ridiculous amount of fun.


Clara, thank you for the reality check. I'm certain the creators of dance did not intend for it to become such a intimidating world....and it's something I'll remember when I fall off my pirouette again. :D .......and your quote just made my entire day. "A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor" *big sigh, square shoulders* Okay. I'm ready.


dancesmith, oh my goodness you are confident! *L* I still don't have the guts to laugh at my flaws, but I hope to someday have the same amount of cheek. Thank you so much for making me giggle. I needed that.


ripresa, yay! I really do love talking to others who adore the musical theatre world as much as I do. You saw Wicked??? *whimper* The fun part is what I need to work on.....and I suppose that's just as important as technique.


eunheejun, and what a boat! *L* I try not to dance in mirrors.....it doesn't boost my confidence any. But a smile always boosts me up! So thank you.

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Irishprincess, have you ever thought about writing? I know this isn't on the topic but your writing skill was amazing. I could hear you speaking it out on stage in my own mind. Quite impressive, I might say!


As for dancing together in a class. Oh, I would just as soon let people think I'm an amazing dancer than to get with them and show them that I'm not. :D But then again, maybe they don't really think that, right?

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:D:wacko::shrug: Actually, I do write. I've actually started writing a novel, but I'm really no good at that. I stick to scripts. (I don't claim to be good at that either, but at least it's simpler) But thank you! It's nice to hear that my writing has a voice.


As for the dancing in class, oh! I'd be put to shame by the majority of people here. But still...it'd be amazing just to be surrounded by friendly faces!

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  • 2 weeks later...

At least you've got knees that work............. :yes:

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Cheer up Irishprincess! Aren't we all in the same boat here? :cool2:


Being an optimistic person, this is what I tell myself when I cringe at my ugly self in the mirror in a dance class; "Gosh, THANK GOD I am not a professional dancer, and I am good at what I do in my profession!"


I think that's a great way of looking at it!


"Gee, I'm the best ballerina out of all the Art Historians I know!" :yes:

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