Once a dancer, always a dancer. It's true and then again, it's not. So many girls give dance a try when they're young and many stick with it well into their teen years. But after that, it is usually just the super serious ones that continue. Especially in ballet.
Dance requires discipline, strength, flexibility, a thick skin, artistry, athleticism and, often times, a very specific body-type. All that together makes going pro a huge accomplishment, usually filled with plenty of sacrifices, aches and pains. Additionally, if you do become a professional dancer, there's the challenge of making it big, finding jobs, working for next to no money and all before you get to be too old (and in ballet that can sometimes be as young as your early thirties.) That's to say, it is often a short-lived career with a lot of potential for injury and it's usually not one that will make you rich.
For all these reasons and more, many professional dancers find careers and jobs in other fields. I myself found that I needed to leave the professional dance world and live as a "normal" person for a while. I went to college and got a job in commercial production and basically turned my back on ballet completely....But I missed it.
I had to find a way to make dance a part of my life again, but not my whole life. That may sound simple, but it really is a difficult task, at least it was for me. The nature of the work and the business basically requires that you give it your all. You suffer for your art. Dance always has to come first and family, friends, money and your well being are often put to the back burner. But I think I have finally reached a point in my life where I've found the right balance.
I have a good job that keeps me from going broke on dancer's wages. I have a fantastic home life with my boy. And I have time to see my friends, go places and do all the fun things I want to do. But I managed to find little ways to keep dance as part of my life. This blog is one of them. I also teach occasionally on the weekends, I take class and I perform now and then with my friends and in situations that are usually just for fun and with no long term commitments. I work at a dance-wear store one Saturday a month. I make tutus for little ballerinas and I contribute to another dance blog called DIY Dancer.
Dance will always be a huge part of my life and makes up a great deal of who I am and what I'm passionate about--but it's not all I am and I think that's pretty cool.
So, if you're still with me, I am planning a new serious of Camp Ballet posts that feature women who have danced and/or still dance, but have also found careers and jobs in other avenues. It's called Dancing Through Life and I hope it shows how diverse dancers can be and the ways in which dance can be a part of every life in some way or another. I hope to feature everyone from the amateurishly to the professional and I would especially love to find other bloggers who are interested in sharing their dance backgrounds (I know you're out there!)
If you're interested in being featured please let me know by emailing me or leaving a comment below. And I hope you enjoy this new series!