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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Still performing?


dancerrick

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I'm curious how many members here are on the "dark side" of 40, and still performing...anything! I hadn't performed in a couple of years, not due to any official retirement, just busy teaching and choreographing. Then in San Diego this past August, I had to get an emergency solo together to round out our 20 minutes. Well, I loved it, and now performing full out again, with more abandon than ever. Guess it doesn't hurt that I'm in LA, where with a little Botox and the right lighting...

 

Anyway I know there must be others out there who still have some "gas in the tank" and maybe aren't jumping as high, but performing with more nuance and more savoir faire than ever. Would love to hear your story!

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Went back to performing briefly in the past two years - just the end of year recital and again at dance camp. I even managed most of the above on pointe. This year, though, there's no attraction to doing the recital for me, but I will be doing the dance camp performance again. :-)

 

I did learn that I do get stage fright now, at least ballet-stage-fright, where I hadn't before. Being away from the stage ballet-wise for so many years, then returning, however briefly, was quite daunting.

 

I did do a lot musical theatre in the years prior to this - just not ballet.

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Though an amateur (once I was actually paid money, however), I still perform at age 66. In fact, if memory serves me right I think I’ve performed more this year than in any other year. There are some important factors I need to mention. Though I did an acting role in a ballet this year, all my performances have been in either modern or Spanish dances. I think both of these forms of dance are quite friendly to we older folk’s bodies.

 

I’m very lucky to live in an area that seems to have a lot of dance opportunities for amateurs. I’m lucky to work with a choreographer who employs a cast that varies considerably in age. For the three modern performances I did this year, one of which was a repeat, the age range was 7-66. Most of those times I’m the father or the grandfather in those dances. I’m lucky to have an absolute terrific dancer as a “partner” who is in the ballpark of my age who gets to be the mother. I think we do well together on stage.

 

There seems to be a constant demand for Spanish performances with most of the company performers being shall we say mature folk. Spanish dance performers (professional ones) are known for performing well into advancing age. A real benefit of that dance form.

 

When I first began performing as a dancer quite a few years ago, I wanted to do it as much as a way to validate my ability as anything else. I wanted to know if I were good enough to be onstage and hold my own. Now I just do it for the fun of it. If I perform, fine. If I don’t, that’s also fine. I’m not looking for performances. I enjoy most the camaraderie with the other cast members, the process of seeing a dance unfold, and connecting emotionally to the music used in the dance. With advancing age, my performance anxiety has dropped to essentially zero. It never was very high, but I’d like just a little more than zero.

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I'm not yet 40, but most of my classmates are there and beyond. We have several 40-65 year old dancers that perform in school recitals, perform with the local company as "extras" in large shows and take more hours of class than I do. :)

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I think it was the director Zefferelli, speaking of Maria Callas, who said, and I misqoute, that just as the performer is reaching the artistic peak, the body is already starting to go downhill. But I will take mature engagement any time over pyrotechnic tricks. The former move me and make me think about my own humanity, and mortality- the latter are forgotten not long after the performance. We have a presenter/ choreographer here in LA, dedicated to showcasing new dance works on a monthly basis, who though in his 50s gives me a primer on nuance every time I watch his work.

Thanks for inspiring me with your experiences- and I do think that modern, musical theater and other styles are much more amenable to the mature performer- these are the styles I currently perform (in addition to belly dance, believe it or not) and I am treasuring every moment!

Edited by dancerrick
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