under pressure

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BREAKING NEWS: Business Insider just listed professional dancing as one of the 14 most stressful jobs in America.  Of course, if you are a dancer, you already knew that.  But from the outside, ballet is tippy toes, tutus, and tiaras, and really, what could be stressful about that?

For starters, at the tips of those toes are bruises that won’t quit.  Inside that tutu is a body that works out hard.  And under that tiara is a brain that is constantly churning new information.  In addition to all of the mental stress of performance anxiety, the emotional stress of competing for roles daily, and the physical stress of grueling rehearsal hours spent training the body to defy physics, some dancers are forced to adapt to every other profession required of them: artist, athlete, nutritionist, makeup artist, hairstylist, physical therapist, doctor, seamstress, publicist…the list goes on.  In small companies like the one I dance with, staff is limited and this collection of jobs can seem endless.  Countless responsibilities + a constant fear of injury + an inconsistent salary (business insider listed the average dancer’s salary as “n/a”) = a whole lot of STRESS.

With all of this pressure weighing on our sore shoulders day in and day out, it’s important to schedule in some time for stress relief.  For example, right now I am writing this post from under the covers of my bed (yes, I realize it’s only 6:30 pm), with a cup of tea and a candle burning.  The string lights my boyfriend and I hung last weekend are creating a tiny twinkling canopy over my head, a cute stuffed moose is overseeing my lounging and I’m thinking this might be as close as life gets to perfection.  Yes, my feet are throbbing and I have a weird pinch in my right shoulder, but right now- just for a few hours, I have to sew pointe shoes later- I’m closing my eyes, exhaling those aches and breathing in the sweet aroma of relaxation.  And boy does it feel goooood.

How do you de-stress after a long day?

5 thoughts on “under pressure

  1. It does sound like a physically demanding life as a ballerina. If you don’t mind me asking, what do you plan to do..ie. 15 years from now? Still dance, teach or?

    • Hi Jean,
      Right now, I am not completely sure where I will be in 15 years. I am currently taking college courses pursuing a degree in Journalism and Liberal Arts, so perhaps there is a future in writing and/or communications for me. Of course, once a dancer always a dancer…teaching does not sound too far off base! Thanks for your comment.
      Kirsten

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