Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Not What I Thought It Would Be

Nutcracker rehearsals didn't start until the middle of October, and until then everything was unfolding beautifully.  I was behind in my training but wasn't worried because I was finally taking classes that were catching me up.  My teacher told me she could tell how hard I was working and that my effort was appreciated.  One day during adagio, which is one of my favorite parts of class, she said I had given her a glimpse of what was to come in the future and it was glorious to see.  I could feel myself improving and was excited at the progress I was making.
Then things started to spiral downwards. Nutcracker rehearsals made me change my life to fit a schedule that goes against my personality.  I'm kind of like an old lady because I go to bed early, I don't like eating too late, I want all my meals to be at regular times, and I love going to church on Sundays.  It's just the way I am.  The life of a ballet dancer doesn't allow one to have that lifestyle.  Rehearsals and shows are scheduled in such a way that makes eating regular meals impossible, and are often late.  I missed dinner some nights because I didn't get home until nine, and every weekend there was a long string of rehearsals with no breaks, causing me to skip lunch.  I don't think dancers are able to perform their best if they aren't able to fuel themselves, so I don't understand why the people in charge didn't give us a chance to eat.  I saw a few girls run to grab fruit or nuts when possible, but I still don't think it was adequate nourishment to get through a whole day of difficult dances.
Another thing I hated was missing church on Sunday mornings.  The company's day off was Monday, but Sundays always consisted of a full day of rehearsing.  I would watch my family head off to service without me, and every time I wanted to be going with them.
Being involved in the Nutcracker requires hours of rehearsal time, and I completely understand that it's necessary when preparing for a show.  It was hard for me to be at the studio for that long though, because I was not comfortable with the other people there.  My previous post explained how I disliked the way the other dancers behaved towards one another, and I didn't fit in to begin with.  I was able to deal with it when I was only going to class then coming right home, but when Nutcracker rehearsals began I was spending all day with those people.  There were a few others I got along with, but I couldn't stand the way most of the dancers put down their competition.  The atmosphere at the studio was horribly unpleasant and I felt the negative environment draining everything out of me.  I would be exhausted at the end of the day and it was all because of the mental strain it took to be in such an bleak place.
I had wanted nothing more than to be in a show, fully absorbed in the ballet world.  I got what I wanted, and it felt like a surprise attack.  No one expects their dream life to make them so unhappy.  When I used to picture myself rehearsing for a performance, wishing with all my heart that it could be more than a fantasy, I always saw myself glad to be there.  The very thing I wished for was turning into something I wanted to run from, yet I still wasn't sure I should give up.  After all, I fought so hard for it.  I convinced myself that I just needed some time to get used to everything, but as you will see in my next post I only continued to sink deeper into my newfound misery.


  1. I'm so sorry to hear it wasn't the best experience but in that sense it can prepare you for the future. Sadly sometimes things like this can become a little too competitive! :/
    I still hoped you enjoyed performing though, can't wait for your next post! xox

  2. Oh, this breaks my heart. I can relate to the church thing. I have gone to church my whole life and I feel in a funk without it. Have you thought about trying out a new school/company? Are there any other options for this semester? I read somewhere that the atmosphere at different ballet schools and companies varies so much that if you aren't happy at one you should try another and another until you find the one right for you. I don't think all ballet schools are this fiercely competitive (but then again, I'm just rambling and probably not telling you anything you don't know. :) Keep your chin up! Many thoughts and prayers coming your way.

  3. Thank-you both for your encouragement! Hannah, it's true that different schools and companies are all different, but sadly the competition that exists in any kind of performing art is normal. It probably varies in degrees from place to place, but I think there is always going to be a least a little of that competitive attitude in any company.