Tuesday, July 5, 2011

a depressing matter

Hi. I am writing this post while I am on vacation because it needs to be written. Other posts have written about the general matter, but this post is coming from my heart. I woke up this morning in tears because my feelings were so strong.

Last night at a Fourth of July party, a fellow dancer came up to me. She is quite younger than me, very immature, but she has amazing feet. She asked me when I was getting my pointe shoes. I told her the truth, this fall or winter if I work hard. She responded in a snotty way, "I am getting mine Thursday." Now, you must understand, my dance teacher is so kind, she sends out an email saying who will get their pointe shoes, so that no other dancers have the shock in class. I was told of three dancers getting their pointe shoes by my mom several weeks ago at home. When this dancer told me of this, I was shocked, and it was all I could do not to burst out in tears.

It's not selfish. You might not understand, but I've worked harder than that dancer. No doubt I am happy for her, but it's just depressing.

I sometimes doubt if ballet is worth all of the heartbreak. Maybe I'll quit after summer term. I don't know. Maybe this is just one little speed bump in life that has flattened my tire. Will I wrangle enough courage to put the spare on? Or will I wait for someone to rescue me?

Dancing is heartbreak. As long as I dance, my heart will break. After I get my pointe shoes, there will still be more instances. Why me? Why couldn't my mom have put me in ballet class when I was two? It's not her fault. I have so many thoughts spewing out of my fingers.

Alone in this messy room, I feel small and weak. I have a voice telling me it;s not worth it. "Why don't you just stop the painful mornings of prepointe? Throw away that theraband. Just throw out your ballet bag and never return to classes!"

My face is damp with tears. It took so much guts to write that. Ballet is hard, but that's why I do it. No one knew about these hidden feelings, but now you do. I had them all bottled up inside. I had to let it out. If I told one of my ballet friends, it would get around and make a huge fight with that one dancer. If I told a non-ballet friend, he/she wouldn't understand and would flip out over my tears. If I told my mom, she would make me do something I didn't want to do. Talk to that other dancer. That's the last thing I want to do. I never want to see her face again. She's moving in a few weeks. This may sound horrifyingly horrific, but I can't wait. Her brother is one of the sweetest boys I've ever met, but she has been nasty and rude ever since I met her.

I hate ballet. I love it, also.

I'm sorry I ever promised to keep up with posts. I knew I couldn't. I might not ever again. I might come back, once a week, month, year, but I'm not sure. For now, I just want to curl up in a corner and die. I love the 3 people who read my blog with all of my heart, and I will cherish you forever.



  1. Trust me, I know how you feel. I am a dancer who doesn't have it easy. I am in a class with girls four years older and with way more experience. I work so hard, sometimes with nothing to show for it. But, I know that if I put my mind to it, I can get over and work harder than ever. That's my advice to you. Remember WHY you dance. Is it to be better than everyone else? No. It's because you love it. No one can take that away. There will always be someone better and worse than you. Just do YOUR best and you will fly. <3

  2. don't give up!

    right after my first pointelesson my teacher took them away again... you can imagine how much I hated her! this is even meaner (does that words exist?!) than not letting me start with pointe dancing...
    and she didn't even tell me in a polite way, she was just like "you didn't work hard enough" allthough I worked hard enough. But now she handed them back to me and to be honest I wasn't ready for pointe before.
    So keep one thing in your mind: it is always better to wait and be gorgeous instead of starting to early and maybe even get injured or so..

    all the best,

  3. Oh Rebecca. I'm so sorry you are experiencing this. I started ballet when I was 12. I really do know what you are going through.
    I now teach and perform for a living. (I happen to think that no one should go on pointe, because unless you are a pre-pro school, it really is unnecessary torture and potential injury for your body, that really doesn't serve much purpose.)
    Dance is not in the shoes. Dance is in you. If this is what you want, if it makes you more happy than it makes you sad, if you feel like it is where you are most honestly you- keep with it. It will be hard. There will be bad days and heartbreaks. But if you can't imagine your life without it, keep it. No matter what the others say or do.
    Best wishes.

  4. Hi Rebecca, If your teacher is a good one, then she has a reason for waiting to put you on pointe. The timing is different for every dancer, and yours might be a little slower than this other girl. It is not solely about hard work - your teacher has to evaluate the strength of your legs, feet, and ankles, your bone structure, and your mental fortitude before inviting you to pointe shoes. I would suggest you talk to the teacher, not the other girl, if you are frustrated and perhaps she can provide you with some clarity on why you are being asked to wait and give you constructive feedback.

    Ballet will continue to be a love-hate relationship throughout your training and career. I hate to be a downer, but that's just how it goes. You're going to need fortitude and a thick spine if you want to be a ballet dancer. Our passion for ballet makes us special, but you have to use it wisely and fuel it towards the positive instead of focusing on the negative.

    If your goal is to get pointe shoes, figure out what you need to do in order to make that happen. If you quit ballet or pre-pointe now, then you obviously won't reach that goal.

    Best of luck,

  5. I definitely know how you feel. I didn't take my first ballet class until I was 14 and didn't start pointe until I was 17. I was/am always struggling with the unfairness of the situation. You know, why couldn't I have started ballet earlier, why am I not more talented type thing. And I still have bad feelings about how I feel I was sort of forgotten, my hard work ignored because I started late.

    But don't give up!! It's taken me a long time to get to this point - where I can accept the fact that even though I didn't start dance when I was little, I can still make the best out of it. And this year I'll be starting my first semester in college and I'll be trying modern dance for the first time. So maybe if you do decided to hang up your pointe shoes, it won't be the end of dance.

    But definitely don't give up. This is just a speed bump in the road of dance. I promise all this heartbreak and pain will be worth it one day.

  6. Yes, yes, don't give up!

    While it's true that you are experiencing heartbreak (and though I don't know you, my heart goes out to you and holds you in the deepest of embraces), it will pass.

    In the end I believe that the dancers, the artists, the people, who struggle to do what they love, when they question (for one reason or another) why they continue, when they have small or monumental hurdles to overcome, when those people emerge on the other side, it is they who are worth watching and paying attention to.

    Those who get their pointe shoes easily, won't appreciate them, won't cherish them, and won't ever understand how hard you worked to get them, and how hard you're willing to work to get to the next level.

    You are not alone Rebecca. xo

  7. Hi Rebecca,

    First I'd like to say that I admire your courage to write this post. It isn't easy to expose our fears and frustrations this way. Especially when we are taught, as dancers, to pretty much suffer in silence. I was a professional dancer and now direct a ballet school that is attached to a professional company. I see my students going through the same thing you are going through every year. It breaks my heart!

    As an instructor, I see many aspects of a dancers readiness for pointe that a dancer and/or parent doesn't see. Everything from critical core strength to ankle range of motion, from the hip strength to the alignment of the leg can affect whether or not a student is ready for point. And the most unfair thing of all is that some students are naturally ready while others have to work extra hard to get there.

    None of this is an excuse for another student flaunting their achievment to another student. There will be bullies in life no matter what we choose to do. There will always be people who need to make others feel bad in order to make themselves feel good. More than likely, this little girl was probably freaking out about moving away from all that she knows and took it out on you. It's no excuse, but something to be aware of as you walk down the path of life. It's also a great learning lesson, as you walk down the path of life. Remember how it felt when she flaunted her achievment. The next time you achieve something that others did not, be careful how you talk about it. I always remind my students not to flaunt when they have moved up a level because not everyone will be moving up at the same time. Along with achievment comes responsibility.

    As another poster said, one of the best things you can do is set up an appointment to talk to your teacher. Try not to approach the appointment with a "why am I not on pointe yet?" attitude, but a "what else can I do to help me achieve my goals of getting on pointe and can you help me understand what I'm lacking?" attitude. If your teacher is a good one, she will be able to explain clearly what she is waiting for you to achieve.

    Lastly, dear Rebecca, just because some one goes on pointe early, or gets moved to higher levels earlier than others, doesn't mean they will become a professional dancer. In my experience, the ones who have to work extra hard for their achievments are usually the ones who go the furthest. This is because they had the tenacity, determination and will power to over come obstacles.

    Keep your chin up, dear, and don't let this get you down too much.


  8. I teach all ages and levels of ballet, Rebecca, and I can sincerely tell you that every individual has her own path. Yours is not like your friend's. Someone else might be thinking the same thing about you! Another girl may be wishing she could excel as you do. You have years and years to go on your journey. Good luck~

  9. Hi dear. I'm so sorry that you felt so hurt by the other dancer's success. I know it can be hard to be happy for others who get what we want so badly. But stop for a moment and analyze why you dance. I dance (and now teach) because when music plays, I can't not move! Would I have loved to make it to a principal or even soloist level at some amazing company? Of course. Does not having reached that level affect my love of dance? Not even a little.

    I am not going to tell you that pointe is bad and you shouldn't want it. I think it's a lovely art form that is safe when taught properly. But it's only a bonus to dancing ballet. Not being on pointe doesn't make you any less of a dancer that someone who is. You are all learning and growing, as are even professional dancers. THAT'S the prize - the learning, the journey, the process of expressing yourself! Not the pointe shoes!

    When you first began dancing, did you do it because you might dance on pointe one day? Did you do it because you wanted to show off to other people? Or did you it because you loved movement and wanted to learn more about it and express yourself through dance?

    Go find your favorite piece of ballet music. Listen to it, get lost in it. Forget about everything else. Nothing else matters! That girl, the pointe shoes, the stress. Just let it all go. Remember the feeling of dancing your favorite steps to your favorite music, and know that God brought you dancing so that you could burst with joy.

    Good luck to you, ballerina.

  10. Dear Rebecca .....

    That is so sad! But you know ..... I know exactly how you feel. A few years ago when I was dancing with a class of other ballerinas in a different ballet school, there was so much competition that I also felt like quitting. I actually took a term off, just to get away from it all. Of course, I kept dancing at home!

    Maybe you should have a break, but keep dancing at home. And about the pointe shoes ..... ha ha, I know exactly how you feel. I got my pointes about two and a half years ago. I was so excited about getting them, but when I finally did, they were so hard and uncomfortable and ..... horrible to work in, I was SO dissapointed.

    This is probably just a speed hump in your life at the moment. Don't worry about that girl that said all that to you at the party the other day. That's just mean and immature.

    Keep working hard, but I also suggest that you have a break away from the dance company for a few weeks.

    That's all the advice I can give you for now.

    Hey, I've got something for you on my blog. It's under the 'Other Ballet Blogs,' part of my blog. You should check it out.

    Izi :)

  11. Hi Rebecca.
    I've been where you are, as a student I was always frustrated by the girls around me who had everything easy. Dancing just came naturally to them, and i had to struggle every step of the way. It took me 4 years to get through one exam,while all my classmates moved up and the younger kids caught up to me, and I hated it so much. What got me through was knowing that all that struggle and hard work was the BEST TRAINING I could ever get for being a teacher. And now i get to work with kids who don't find ballet easy and am dedicated to finding ways to inspire them to be the best that THEY can be, rather than the best that the strongest girl in the class can be. I love working with those kids, the kids like you and me; the ones that a lot of teacher's just ignore or put very little effort into helping because they'll never get amaxing exam marks, or be the star of the class. I work very hard as a teacher to give equal tratment to every student and there's nothing that anoys me more as a teacher than a student with talent but no drive or work ethic.

    Your teacher sounds like she's got everyone's best intrests at heart; letting you know privately who is and isn't going on pointe. Unfortunately some girls do need a lot less work than others to be ready and are ready much younger. But there is a lot you can do to help yourself. it seems you're already doing pre-pointe exercises, but if you don't already know about it get yourself a copy of Lisa Howell's "The Perfect Pointe Book" and look her up on YouTube. I use this system with my kids, and whilst there is still a lot of variation in how long people take to be ready, all the girls who have done this progam and are anatomically capable of doing pointe take to pointe like a duck to water!
    keep at it! the more pre-poninte work you do the faster you will progress, go to classes below yours and work really hard on the fundementals and in every class make sure you are WORKING hard at every exercise, even the most "boring" plie or port de bras esercise, but especially glises/degages, rises etc. Everything you do in class will help you to reach your goal of pointe if you work corectly and carefully, there is no such thing in ballet as a pointeless exercise.
    I hope this helps
    good luck, and try to remember what makes you love dance.

  12. I agree with flutterbie that The Perfect Pointe Book will help.But, also dancing comes from the heart and soul which is much more easily discouraged than even the less-than-ideal feet and "ballet body". Ballet is a real challenge for the artist. Persisting and continuing to believe in yourself...against many odds.

  13. I understand that you are having trouble with this issue, and that it is now resolved. But I just want you to know that the Lord has an amazing plan for your life so please don't try to lose sight of that. I go through phases exactly like you do, but you will get through them. Dance for the Lord, and He will reward you for that. Yu are getting lies from the devil that you can't handle it. Don't believe them. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you! P.S. Your an amazing writer!