Forum: Ballet / Ballet - General

Ballet - General
Should I quit dance??? Please help!
By ballerina7373 Comments: 23, member since Wed Jan 11, 2017
On Thu Apr 27, 2017 09:26 AM

After injuring my foot I've really been questioning whether or not I should continue pursuing ballet at a high level. I used to be so incredibly passionate about dance. I was at the studio 30 hours a week, Stretching outside of class, spending every free moment researching ballet schools and companies. I've been accepted into several competitive programs such as PNB, Harid, ABT NY, etc. I've even been told by teachers that if I continue on the path I am on I could someday dance with a major ballet company. It seems as though everything is going exactly as it should be; However, I'm very academic minded as well (I'm ranked first in my class with a 5.0 weighted GPA and a 4.0 unweighted). I'm not sure if it's feasible to pursue college while dancing in a company, and I'm not even positive that dancing in a company is what I want to do with my life (that seems absolutely crazy to even type!!) A few months ago I tore a ligament in my foot/ankle. It's not a complete tear and the doctor says that by 6 months I will be able to dance exactly the same as I did before. I've still observed classes, but it seems the joy ballet used to bring me has been taken away. It seems tedious and like a chore and it never has before. Because of my injury I also had to turn down an offer to my dream SI at PNB :( I'm not sure if I should quit ballet or not. It seems that I've put so much into it that I can't quit now. I was thinking of maybe taking a few classes at a less prestigious and demanding ballet school where I could take class just 4 days a week and focus on solely dancing for the joy of it rather than making it a career, but I don't want to throw away everything I've worked so hard for. Sorry this turned into a super long rant, but I'm just so confused about what to do. Any insight would be very much appreciated. Thank you so much :)

4 Replies to Should I quit dance??? Please help!

re: Should I quit dance??? Please help!
By Serendipity42Premium member Comments: 2271, member since Sun Aug 16, 2009
On Fri Apr 28, 2017 06:05 AM
I broke my back while attending a dance program, in an unrelated accident. Although I never was able to dance professionally, after that, 40 years later, I am still dancing.

Whether you decide to go professionally or not, I would keep dancing if I were you. There are many college level programs that you can attend in which you can combine your dance and degree. That is, if you choose to go for that. College will always be there. Your dance career, should you decide to pursue it, is very short.

You are very young. You heal quickly. If I were in your shoes, I would keep going. I desperately wanted to keep going. I was very lucky in that I had great teachers who had great doctors they sent me to and that allowed me to continue.
re: Should I quit dance??? Please help!
By Katja144member has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 3229, member since Sat Jul 30, 2005
On Sat Apr 29, 2017 11:57 PM
I think perhaps slowing down a bit while still dancing is not a bad idea. That way it is not so intense, but you are keeping in shape and not completely closing the door. This will give you time to decide if you truly want to quit; if you do, nothing lost, but if you don't, you won't be going back from no dancing at all.

That said, if you are able to explore why you might feel burned out, that will also help you decide what to do. Is it frustration over your injury? Were you feeling burned out before that at all? If it's that, then getting back into dancing might help. Or perhaps seeing more performances for inspiration, or helping with younger classes to remember the excitement of starting out, might help. Write down what you love about it, and what you don't like about it. Include perhaps feelings of what you used to love even if you're not feeling it now. Is there anyone you can have a heart-to-heart with, like a classmate friend or teacher?

As far as balancing dance and college, I think it depends on your choice of college. I personally found college easier than high school, and a good friend tells me the same (in part it's that you don't go to EVERY class EVERY day like in high school, so it feels like you have more time to breathe). But, neither of us attended a really-prestigious school where academics will be more challenging, nor did we major in anything really time-intensive (for example, many science degrees can be difficult because not only do you need to attend class but also labs. Some majors will have additional practicum or internship that is required; before I switched from Criminal Justice we were to be required to do practicum in Corrections, at a facility about 30 miles from my college).

Good luck. I, too, would hate to see you lose something you've worked so hard for and loved so much in the past, for what may be a temporary burnout brought on by a definite incident, but if you find as you go along that it truly no longer brings you joy, either stepping back or stepping away completely may be the best thing. I know of people who only found their love for dance again after de-intensifying (one who said it only worked for her after she stopped pursuing pointe), or people who missed it and went back after a few months or years.
re: Should I quit dance??? Please help!
By marginalia Comments: 16, member since Tue Apr 11, 2017
On Fri Jun 16, 2017 09:34 AM
Edited by marginalia (282834) on 2017-06-16 09:41:26 Added commentary on joy
Hi there-- I'm a beginner adult dancer, so I can't really help out with tales from "the other side", as far as professional or pre-professional programs go. That said, I watch a LOT of YouTube ballet videos : ) I'd point you to a few folks who danced in college so they could focus on dancing and their studies-- one is TwinTalksBallet on YouTube, who majored in dance and minored in business. She is now a professional dancer with a company; if you find personalities like her, you could potentially reach out for advice.

I used to work at a university, which is where the heart of my advice comes from. I'm heartened to hear that your studies are important to you. If you think you have the time and ability to juggle a double major in dance and something else, I'd recommend looking into schools who could offer you that opportunity. If you're not offered substantial scholarships, you may find this difficult, especially if you're working; you'll have to make the decision for yourself about what you can handle. Remember, most day jobs aren't compatible with being a professional dancer if you do get placed in a company, so I'd avoid student loans because dancer stipends probably won't pay those bills.

While picking a major, I'd recommend you ask yourself: What problem do I want to solve in the world? Pursue that. It'll be easier to find the same passion you had with dance, and you will have more direction when you look for internships during your undergrad, which will set you up for more job success after college.

Most colleges with a dance program will also have intro and beginner classes for non-majors, so you could even take those while you get back up to speed during your recovery! Keep in mind that most dance companies have professional/student rates for classes, so even if you have to drop the dance major, you could keep it as a minor or drop it altogether and keep dancing at a discount.

Best of luck!

Edit/addition: Regarding your lack of joy: I fully understand. It can be hard to put 100% effort in, or dance with abandon if you're worried about re-injuring yourself and focused on your new limitations. It's frustrating to not be able to do things with the same ease we used to, but perseverance will pay off. It'll be hard to see improvement initially, but if you keep a journal noting your small victories, you'll notice you're probably improving more quickly than you realize. If doing a variation perfectly is what gave you joy, it'll be hard to find that again. However, if storytelling and artistry gave you joy, throw yourself into it. I think it's probably still there : )
re: Should I quit dance??? Please help!
By eloisefigmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 1020, member since Sat Feb 14, 2004
On Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:40 AM
There are still many regional companies you can dance with, while pursuing academics(I found it was hard to dance in a college group unless you were a dance major). This is what I did while going through college and Dental school. And who knows, you're desire to dance professionally may return once you get back into it. I don't know that I would change schools just yet, but maybe cut back on the intensity of classes, which would also be good post-injury.