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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Frustration


Marjolein

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I'm very happy to be taking good classes again, but I'm so frustrated. I have lost everything I worked hard at for years. Now I never had any strength, i was the typical all flexibility no strength dancer, but I've lost most of my flexibility as well. Still left and right splits, but nowhere near middle splits, no extension, hardly any cambré. I constantly feel as if my body is doing nothing. I mess up easy combinations (tombé pas de bourrée, glissade, assemblé). I'm still feeling the exhaustion of severe depression in my body and I hate it.

 

Of course the teacher said it will all come back, and another student I took class with years ago said I did quite good for such a long time off. But I'm so scared I will never get back to where I was or get better than that.

 

And to add to the frustration, these classes are in Brussels, which makes it nearly impossible to take them during the year. But taking them as made me realise how much I love dancing. I'd dance every day all day long if I could. And if I weren't so tired all the time. But the teacher just said, if you love dancing all that much, why don't you. Which is easy said if you're a retired principal, but not if you're a college student trying to survive working weekends. To tempt me even more, he told me he will be starting his own professional school, and when I said that wouldn't be for me, he just said, why not.

 

If I could choose, I'd quit college (I already have a degree, I'm studying for my second degree), do some more hours at my job, and spend all the rest of my time in dance classes (and voice lessons and acting classes). But that's not the sensible decision. But it's what I've been dreaming of for years. It's realistic for now, but I don't know if it will take me somewhere in the future. I'm not trying to be a ballet dancer, at 23 I'm much too old for that, musical theatre is my biggest love. But of course one never knows if one succeeds at such a career. On the other hand, I'm studying secondary education in Dutch and history at the moment something I'm good at, it will get me a job, I love it, though not nearly as much as dancing

 

Sorry about this, I'm just a bit at a loss at the moment.

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Wow.....I am sending a cyberhug to you- sounds like you need it. :lol:

 

First off- you already told me in one sentence what would make you happy.....and then you qualified it. Who is "should-ing" you??? Are they healthy for you???? I'm just wondering if it might be that there might be other people who might actually support your "un-sensible" decision........

 

You already have a degree and a job......what's so wrong with what you've already accomplished???? What is so wrong about following things that make you happy?????? Some of the people who are living in conditions we'd all call squalor, are some of the happiest people on Earth. It's not necessary to jump on the "Success!! Ambition!! Money!!!!!" train.........you can choose to get off and live a simple life. There. You now have permission to choose. You're a grown woman. Follow your bliss.

 

Now, with regards to ballet- patience is your lesson. Apparently, you are not a very patient person with yourself. That'll bite you in the rear. Inevitably, something happens to those of us who have no patience with ourselves that forces us to find it. This is your lesson.

 

Also relaxing. You must figure out what that word means, and find it for yourself. :yes::)

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Thank you very much for your reply. You are very right about relaxing, that word has no place in my life, though I know it should. And I'm definitely not patient with myself. I hate doing something I'm not good at. I have to be good at everything, preferably the best.

 

About the whole what to do with my life question, I'm not aiming to earn barrels of money or anything, but I don't want to do what I'm doing now for the rest of my life (I work at an organic bakery/restaurant). The degree I have is in journalism, but I can't seem to find a job as a journalist. But I'm scared if I quit the degree I'm studying for now, I will never get out of the sort of job I do now. I might have some great fun for a couple of years, dancing and singing, but if I can't turn that into a career, then what? I just can't stop worrying. People are also encouraging me to do something in costuming, which I would love as well.

 

Oh dear, I really do need a bit of relaxation, don't I?

 

I did have a fun class today, I did reasonably well. My balance is not to bad, I still have nearly 180° turnout but I mess up lots, coordination is not what it was. My head knows exactly what to do, my body doesn't quite follow.

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Ok, you have so many voices in your head telling you what to do, I think I'll start by addressing them one at a time: :huh:

#1- do you enjoy your job in the organic bakery? (I want #1 to answer- not listen to all the other voices :shrug: )

 

#2- Do you have a passion for journalism? Do you find yourself randomly writing stories and wanting to know more about things that are already in print, and going to the library or other research centers just for fun?

 

#3- would you be happy just singing/dancing/acting in a darkened room without an audience?

 

#4- why are you so hard on Marjolein???? It sounds like she tries the best she can, and her best is good enough.

 

#5- You're the perfectionist. Darling, perfection is boring. :wink: See #4.

 

The key to an interesting and rich life is to NOT follow the money............we can't all be doctors, bankers, and lawyers :angry2:, else, who would bake our bread, grow our food, build our homes........

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Having started ballet at an equally vexing and confusing time in life (first class was right after graduating high school), I too wrestled with many of the same questions you are tackling now. First and foremost, you should be commended for your already enviable success through not only obtaining a college degree, but pursuing a second one. That already puts you financially "ahead" than most your age in the performing industry, as well as provides a concrete safety net for the rest of your life.

 

I think one of the best things for you to do is to sit down with a close and open-minded friend and have a conversation about what matters to you in life. Everyone has different aspirations for themselves that they define as "being successful" and that make them happy. For some examples, some people desire the love of a big family, a wealth of knowledge and understanding, large acquisitions of money and material goods, traveling and exploring the world, or altruistic endeavors and "good deeds". Ideally, no one goal is more valid than the other, and of course they will intermingle to some degree depending on the person. What my rambling is trying to get at is that YOU need to define for YOURSELF what will make you happiest (or sometimes happier) in life, and let no one else's "ideals" overtake or obstruct your own. And making this choice is a process, one that can be refined and directed as knowledge of yourself grows. I chose a little over a year ago the world of ballet as my ideal, even to exclusion of "normal" things like large circles of friends, relationships, (presently) my education, and even to some degree my family (moving to PA from home in TX). Has it been difficult? Yes. Am I assured success? Nope. Am I happier now than I've ever been before in my life? You bet! Will it all be worth it? To me, yes, others, maybe not so much...

 

Sorry, I have more, but I have to be off for the time being. I hope this at least partially gets you through some of the fog or at least starts you on the right path!

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That was very insightful Chronus... :D

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Oh Marjolein,

 

I am so sorry to hear of your distress...I think no matter what our age, it can be difficult to be at a crossroads in our lives.

 

I'm going to repeat what others have said here, but these words have given me comfort in times when I have needed it.

 

Joseph Campbell says, "Follow the bliss." Somehow when you follow the bliss, things just happen... :D

 

Think about what you want--what makes YOU happy.

 

It sounds like you are an accomplished young lady--with many wonderful possibilities to look forward to.

 

You take the time to explore those possibilities, think about what you want.

 

Be kind to yourself.

 

--brandymichele

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Thank you all so much for your replies.

 

Clara, those are some very good questions. It took me a few days to reply because I have been thinking about the anwsers.

 

I like my job okay, but not enough to do it forever. I miss working with my mind when only working with my hands. But I also miss working with my hands when only working with my mind.

 

I like singing and dancing just for myself, but I just blossom onstage. Whatever I do, it becomes 10 times bigger and better when doing it onstage. It's where I feel at home.

 

I like writing, and I have a passion for following the news and researching whatever interests me, but I don't know whether I really have the heart of a journalist. The kind of journalism I really like is about people. I wrote a large research article about orthodox Jewish women in Antwerp once, I loved researching and writing that. But there are no papers or magazines who do much of that here.

 

The thing I do have such a passion for, would be costuming. I wake up and go to bed with costumes in my head. I'm always looking out for ideas, looking at fabrics, thinking of designs.

 

I know I'm being too hard on myself. I grew up never being enough. For me, I am what I've achieved. I haven't achieved anything so I am nothing.

 

Thank you so much for all your insights, it's really helping me decide what to do with my life.

 

Marjolein

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Live your dreams!

 

(but have enough cash to live on, too).

 

Jim.

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I know I'm being too hard on myself. I grew up never being enough. For me, I am what I've achieved. I haven't achieved anything so I am nothing.

 

 

Marjolein

 

Just remember that some achievements are subtle and yet still significant. It can be very easy to miss those and think that you have achieved nothing at all. It's a lot about perspective.

 

Let's say that you may be struggling in a certain area of your life; you could look at that as a failure to succeed or you could look at that as an opportunity for change or growth. Perhaps you're at one of those crossroads right now and you're struggling with your perspective. Even if you don't actually change your schedule or job, you could use this time to change that inner voice that tells you what a failure you are. What a lifelong and positive growth that would be! That would be a significant change in your life without actually changing your outward situation. It would impact everything you did everyday.

 

This is not to say that you shouldn't change your job or anything. It's really a personal choice. However, even if you decide to change your direction, when you continue being so hard on yourself you'll negatively affect any kind of personal satisfaction you might feel in any decisions you make in life.

 

One nice thing I have found with growing older is that I have learned to be happy with myself and thankful for who I am, even if I'm not everything that I want to be. I know that I am "fearfully and wonderfully made" even with all of the flaws and imperfections I have to live with everyday. I could easily focus on those things and there are days when I do. But part of being a strong and empowered individual is learning to accept yourself for who you are, and from your description it sounds like you already know a lot about yourself. You might need more practice in appreciating who you are and making decisions that fit you. As I've started learning that lesson and accepting it more readily, my goals have become more clarified and simple. I'm no longer motivated by trying to be "good enough" to be "acceptable" so it has gets rid of the destructive thought patterns that are rubble in the pathways of the mind. My goals then become structured more around what I personally believe in and want than what I think I'm supposed to do to fit some image of success.

 

I sure wish that I had known these things as a younger person, although I'm not really that old. I would have enjoyed those years so much more than I did and I would have approached some big decision without as much fear and anxiety. I thought I needed to be successful even though my image of success was somewhat flawed.

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marjolein,

you have already achieved soooo much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! you can support yourself, can express yourself, can write probably better than most people in the world, and you're compassionate. that is plenty and it's time to stop putting your accomplishments down.

 

just breathe. live your life. enjoy things. it's really that simple. :):D:)

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Be who you are. Sounds easy, right?

 

Not so much.

 

You have to think about it a bit, work on it a bit, and then rest in it.

 

That first phrase was a New Years Resolution I made just before I found my way back to Ballet.

 

I had to work to find the classes.

I had to psych myself to show up after many years off and many pounds gained.

I had to work my husband into the idea of me being gone during those times and paying for the classes.

I had to do research just to get myself outfitted for class.

Once I was there I felt like myself after many years of just feeling a bit off. I did things that were pretty close, but ballet is home.

 

It s not my job. That was never the issue. It is just something I wish I'd never stopped doing for long.

 

It takes a while of doing the things that make you feel like you to pay off. It is not all in the doing. The resolution was "to be"

 

It is three years and a half later and I was in my bliss at adult dance camp practically last week. Who was I? I was one of the dancers.

 

Some of you may have noticed I was wound way too tight those several weeks before going with all the excitement of going and the anxiety of being ready and the business of the preparations.

I calmed down as soon as I got there.

 

Does this mean anything??

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Yesterday was an extremely frustrating class. I actually didn't do one of the combinations, I've never done that before. I knew exactly how to do it (4 sissone fermé en tournant, ballonné, stuff like that), my feet just wouldn't. My teacher told me to be patient. He said because I'm young and have good facility, it will come back in no time. Just one hour of stretching already got me some flexibility I thought I had lost for good.

 

Some good news: I got my first (very small) professionel costuming job. A professional costumer I know well, called me to ask if I want to come an help her tomorrow (and some other days too). Tiny as it is, it's payed job for a professional production and I'm incredibly happy :wink::thumbsup::thumbsup: .

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Good work with already netting the job! That's awesome and I assume quite rare to have been acquired to readily! And don't worry how "big" or "small" some things are, since those will usually lead to even more things as your name, talent, and reputation make it's way around the dance world.

 

And let me be the first to tell you, "off-days" are a fact of life! I've had days were I couldn't even stand flat on one foot...much less ballet. But they pass, and they pass faster if you don't dwell on them or you figure out what was making you off, then fix it. Just start fresh the next day and it won't become an "off-week, -month, -year, ect..."

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Wow!! Congratulations on the first costume job. If that's what you really love to do, then staying in the midst of the theater/dance world is the best place for you. You'll make connections that you could probably never make in college.

 

You mentioned in your first post about having had severe depression. I struggle with that too. Don't forget that depression makes it very hard for your mind to work well, and the mind-body connection gets disrupted. I kind of dread classes starting next week because I know the toll the past few months of depression has taken on me.

 

I hope your costuming job works out well, and that there will be many more to come!

 

Lisa

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