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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Ballet anxiety!


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Hi all

I just need a little anxiety rant! 

I've read the pinned post about studio closures, and I am doing my studio's 'Zoom' classes as much as I can but.....

I live in a teensy one bed flat.  My floor space is around 1m by 2m in my kitchen.  I can just about do ronde de jame at terre, but I haven't got space for grande ronde de jame, promenade in arabesque, and grande battements are a serious challenge!  I have to move mid exercise for most things to avoid catching an arm or a leg on something.  My floor is incredibly slippery, which makes wearing my soft blocks impossible.  There's something wrong with my left pointe shoe, I don't know what it is, but it doesn't feel right, and I can't releve to one foot on the left now because it feels like it' collapsing.........  And it's SOOOO frustrating!

SunKing camp in June is cancelled, and I can't go to the new dates in August because flying from the UK in August costs over twice as much.  I've been saving up for years, and now can't go for another year.

I get it - I'm an NHS doctor who is very much on the front line, so believe me - I get it!  I know why this is happening, and I see the consequences.  Colleagues have died, and the job right now is incredibly weird.

Ballet is my happy place, my social life, and essentially, what I do when I'm not working.  And I can't have it- not really.  Online class is immeasurably better than nothing - and my friends and I, who  usually see each other several times a week, are 'virtual houseparty-ing' at the weekends.  It's not the same, and it's hard.  It's hard for everyone.  This really really sucks.  And I kind of need to say it - and tell others it is ok to find this miserable!

The other thing is that I was due to be taking my RAD intermediate in the summer, which now obviously won't happen.  I've worked so so hard on my technique over the past couple of years, and now I'm super paranoid that I can practice at home, but I may ingrain bad habits and incorrect technique, which will be really hard to fix.  Obviously, in the general scheme of things, it doesn't really matter.  But it does matter to me, and it bothers me - and nobody outside the adult ballet bubble gets it!

Ok.......that's better......

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  • 3 weeks later...

doormouse I'm in the UK, whereabouts are you? Thank you for working on the frontlines, I clap for you every Thursday.  👏

Sorry to hear about you going through all of this, we can all relate, though I'm sure you're going through a lot more given your role in all of this. 💕 I'm also in a 1-bed flat with my husband and it's just so frustrating.. I'm originally from the states and adjusting pre-pandemic was difficult, so now it's just amplified.

As an adult ballet dancer that is not a professional, I totally get you. Nobody understands or takes it seriously. It's really frustrating. People wonder why I have a hobby that takes so much effort, but it's really the challenge that draws me to it.

With your RAD intermediate, just remember that everybody will be going through the same thing as you, I'm sure tons of people were also working on their technique and prepping for it, so when you do get back to it, everyone else will be feeling just as wobbly and out of sync as you. I'm expecting the world to be a little forgiving when all of this passes.. I hope. 👀 

Maybe this is a good time to only use your pointe shoes to keep your feet calluses (or just so your feet don't stop getting used to them) and only use slippers to really practice your core technique. Would that be an option?

Anyway, all of that to say that vents are welcome and encouraged during this difficult time. If you ever want to vent about UK living and chat about ballet, I'm your girl. 🙌 And I'm happy to do ballet-themed virtual house parties. 😂



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Doormouse I sympathize with your pain. I’m lucky to have a little space in my house to dance but it’s far from ideal, I can’t jump, I can’t pirouette from the barre because my barre is just a chair that slides and tips. And I’m worried I’m annoying my housemates by using the common space for dance classes, not that they’d be using it anyways, I think everyone’s just in a bad mood because it’s exams and they aren’t exercising since everyone’s been isolated.


I’m grateful for still having classes, for one it adds structure to my dad, and second it’s good to exercise both for your mental and physical health. But it’s frustrating. So frustrating. I just want to dance! 

If anything good has come from this I’ve also started doing some yoga and some of Kathryn Morgan’s stretch and strengthens, especially for turnout. I’m going to come out of this with properly developed turnout muscles if it’s the only think I do. 

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Completely understand your frustration!  I tried taking a modern class from my former teacher, as distance doesn't matter now, but was extremely frustrated that she literally did not understand that my space was about 4 by 6 feet.  I took the modern class thinking the floorwork would be perfect, but no, she wanted to MOVE.  My little sister was actually participating from my family's home (somehow we were the only two who showed up to class that day, I can empathize as a teacher that getting people to actually take zoom classes is difficult), and she said the same thing, as she can't just move the sofa to have space--there's nowhere to move it to.  Her space is much wider than mine...but then she was moving out of the camera frame!  I can't "do it on the spot", even turns with arms outstretched made me hit the bookcase/desk.  Ended up watching frustrated for large portions of the class instead of participating.  I did text the teacher after to explain I wasn't being rude on purpose, with a picture of the space, because I felt bad, but I also requested more floorwork, as it's all I have space for.  Ballet is slightly better to do barre with, but then there's also the fun part of having a cat who MUST be present and can open doors if he tries hard and long enough....and thinks that fast-moving legs are toys to play with!


This, too, shall pass...but it sure is frustrating while it does!

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  • 1 year later...

How are things going now doormouse? Have you been able to resume in-studio classes? Do you have new dates for your exam?

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  • 2 weeks later...


Well.....been one hell of a year....

I usually take class five days a week, and not having that space outside work to see my friends and just be in another brain space has been very hard work. In addition, I live in a part of the country which has not been out of restrictions for just over a year, so indoor classes for groups of adults were only permitted for a few weeks back in October-November time.

My main school is still outdoors and online.  The studio we have used for the past decade changed hands at the beginning of the pandemic, and thus far, doesn't want us back.  Which is obviously a major headache and ongoing worry.  We remain hopeful that they will have us back in September, but that's a long way off.  Because other schools with their own premises have been able to open, the concern is that students - particularly the children's classes - won't come back.  We have a hard core of committed kids we've taught since they were tiny, but to be honest, I've no idea how my teacher is managing to eat at the moment!

My RAD school, being primarily a kids school AND having it's own building, has been able to open a little more.  We've been back indoors for the past 3 weeks.  And my RAD teacher has talked me into doing the exam in about 8 weeks....😵  An examiner will be to coming us - which is a first for the vocational exams, because the studio isn't really big enough, but "exceptional circumstances" have, of course, arisen!  I am freaking out.  A bit....

Ok -  a lot!  I've lost a lot of strength and stamina, especially en pointe.  Next week is the first opportunity I have to go and get my shoes sorted, which is not ideal, but the current ones aren't really working anymore.  Jumps - which are probably my weakest point anyway - are the things I really haven't been able to do properly for a year, so that's a worry.  Turns too.

Then there's all the extraneous, rubbishy anxiety - I am taking the exam with a couple of lovely willowy teenagers, and do rather feel like the hippo who has escaped into the gazelle enclosure.  I'm convinced I have put weight on over lockdown, and I haven't been able to do most of my weight training, so changes I was seeing went backwards.  I know it doesn't matter, but it's messing with my head!  I am literally 20yrs older than the girls I take class with.  They are lovely kids, but it's a whole other level of nerve to take an exam with them.  I wear a industrial strength sports bra to dance, so obviously, wearing the same camisole leotard is out of the question.  Which means I'm currently also looking for a new sleeved leotard which will both flatter and hide the underwear!  I think spanx may be out of the question - unfortunately!

It's been, without doubt, the toughest year of my career.  This is a welcome distraction, but also rather stressful!

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