O.M.G. you guys.
I have here, for your edification and delight, a guest post from Henrik, a For Realz professional dancer, with the Maribor Ballet of Slovenia.
I know, right?!
Ok, when I found Henrik’s website a while back, I found it fascinating, funny, and kinda mean. Basically, just what I like in a blog. And, you know, written by a professional. So I was intimidated, I mean, why would a pro care what I have to say?
Eventually I worked up the courage to post a comment, and its a good thing, because it turns out Henrik is, like, really cool.
Read on, and visit his site.
Take it away, Henrik!
Newly discovered: Adult beginners.
Most people wouldn’t think a professional dancer meets many adult beginners during their normal working day. In this case, most people are right. Now, that’s a shame!
Until recently, I had never talked with anyone that discovered their passion for ballet after finishing both their puberty and their university degree. I know professional dancers, retired dancers, aspiring ballet students, good dancers, and, I know some pretty bad dancers too. I even know a go-go dancer (long story), but as I said already, until recently, I never spoke to any adult beginners.
Not so long ago, I found a guy on the internet (or actually, more true is, he found my blog, left a comment that again sent me to his blog) that was an adult man that just decided to start learning ballet. He was so inspired, he described the things I do every day with a contagious passion, I truly appreciated going to work the next morning a bit more than usually. And the guy never did a ballet-class. Today he has, and you should read about it on DaveTriesBallet.com. Anyway, this comment on my blog opened my eyes to a new breed in the grand zoo of ballet, the adult beginners.
Ballet sucks! To become a professional ballet dancer, that is to dance ballet as your full-time job (I know, it makes it sound kinda strange, doesn’t it?), you need to start training way before you are old enough to decide if thats what you want to do with your life. Parents asks their seven year old kid, “would you like to take ballet classes?”, and the kids are like “naah, I’d rather play hide and seek”. And there it goes. Kid never becomes a professional ballet-dancer.
Still, sometimes the kid grows up, and decides to learn ballet anyway. Those are the adult beginners. And let me tell you – they’ve got balls! Once adult, it takes a whole lot of guts to go into a ballet studio the first time. For us who started as kids, it was easy – we had no clue of what we were getting into, and wearing leotards and running around in circles “picking flowers” probably seemed like a great way to spend the afternoon. For adult beginners the song has a different tune – when did you last show yourself in a tights in front of a crowd? And were you doing something totally unfamiliar, quite hard, not very comfortable and possibly humiliating at the time? This is what any adult beginner faces when they go into that ballet studio the first time.
Since you’re reading this, I will take it for granted that you are already familiar with ms. Adultbeginner and her more-than-awesome posts. If you are not, don’t even finish reading this. Hit the “archive” button right now, and read up! You can thank me later. You still here? Shoos, already.
For you already familiar, I don’t have to tell you about all the wonders of a ballet studio, and what it offers to adult starters. Ms. Adultbeginner replied to one of my comments on this site saying something like that “it’s good for adults to do things they are not immediately good at. Those rare moments of getting it right are all the more sweet”. That describes it pretty well. The adult beginner remembers what we professionals easily forget – the joy of dancing, and the joy of achieving something. It’s quite the feeling.
This blog, and others like it, has helped me re-discover a passion I almost forgot about between the tendues and the jetés. When doing what you love as your job, it is easy to forget what you love about it. And if you don’t feel the joy in it anymore, there’s really no reason left being a ballet-dancer. I mean, lets face it, most of us never become famous, none of us becomes rich, and it includes a shitload of work, pain and sacrifices. I learned, and still learn so much from people who just started discovering the great art of ballet. Their love of ballet is at least as great as mine. Because joy doesn’t increase with the number of pirouettes you can perform (or actually, it does, but I was trying to make a point).