“I don’t want people who want to dance, I want people who have to dance.”
George Balanchine was quite right in saying this. The life of a professional ballet dancer is hard work, loads of self discipline and an endless fight for perfection of technique. Lots of people think they would love to have the glamorous life of a ballet dancer, but don’t actually realize what it takes to give your life to this profession.
A professional ballet dancers life is all about dance and nothing else. There is simply no time for anything else. You are basically married in a sense to your career. Most people would not be able to do this, and it takes a very dedicated person to live this type of lifestyle.
Each day is a series of disciplined classes, rehearsals and performances. There is no such thing as not feeling up to dancing, you make yourself feel up to it. Aching bodies and joints are a daily part of life, as well as for most a constant battle with the scale, as the appearance of a dancers body is of the utmost importance.
Classes are the basis of a dancers life, and must be performed each working day without fail. The body has to be finely tuned in order to stay on top of things. Each and every muscle in the body must be constantly strengthened and stretched. Technique always needs perfecting, and balance always needs work.
Most days after classes the dancers do rehearsals for the various shows that they are involved in. As dancers are perfectionists this takes many hours of practice and preparation.
On the days where there are performances, rehearsals may finish earlier to give the dancers an hour or two break before hitting the stage. Performances are usually in the evenings, and can end as late as eleven. When dancing in a performance, it is usually difficult to wind down for the evening, and just as you manage to get some sleep in, it is time to get up early the next morning once again for the next set of classes and rehearsals.
As you can see with the life of a ballet dancer, it is very difficult to have a family life with this hectic sort of schedule. Dancers are also not the most well paid profession on earth, but the love of the art keeps their spirits alive and make it all worth while.
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