Taking a Break
Updated: Feb 23
Taking a break from ballet may sound like the last thing you want to do, but for me, a break was a great benefit. Taking time to heal and to grow forced my body and mind to go back to the basics of why I was dancing in the first place. The step back actually allowed me to step forward.
For many, including myself, a ballet career starts as a young child when your parents put you in a ballet class. It’s new, and fun, but from there you either join those who slowly give it up, or you stay. When you stay, a path to the professional world is opened up. It’s constant training and stretching and years of hard work. So many of us started so young and just never left, so it’s understandable that we may question why we’re still so devoted to ballet. It’s art, but it’s also a lot of commitment.
I only began to notice how overwhelmed I was feeling when I was 16 and dealing with a new diagnosis of a nerve disorder on top of the pressure of dancing. My body was tired, and it made me hate what I was doing. I didn’t want to ruin my relationship with dance, and I knew I needed to take a break to do that. It was the best decision I could have made. At first it was nice. I could rest and regain strength, but after a while I knew that the break wouldn’t be forever. I love ballet too much, and I was craving the hard work.
After about a year of only a few classes here and there, I went back full time and fully committed. My condition was under control because I had taken the time I needed to do that, and I was surprised at how my dancing had changed for the better. I’m stronger, and I have better control of my technique. I can think through what I am doing without feeling like I need to constantly be pushing my body to bend more or to leap higher. Those can come after I build the strength to control them. I went back to the basics, and it paid off. The best thing to come out of that break, though, was the realization that I really do want to be committed to ballet. I proved to myself that I love it and that I am willing and able to put in the hard work.
Understanding why you dance is just as important as dancing. Remember to be mindful and grateful to your body for what you are able to accomplish. Ballet takes a balance of athletics and artistry.
Written by Avery Smith