my ballet family


I am very proud to be part of a select group of people in this world who can say I miss my job when I’m away from it.

I miss ballet.  I miss rehearsal.  I miss learning choreography.  I miss taking class.  I miss sweating in the studio.  I miss tying up my pointe shoes.  I miss putting my hair in a bun.  I miss my routine.  I miss my friends.  I miss the company.  They are are so much more than merely the people I work with.  They are my family.  They are the people I spend my days with.  The people I laugh with- and sometimes at. ;) The people who hug me when I cry (or tell me to rub some dirt in it- classic ballerina lingo).  They are always there to pat me on the back when they are proud of me (not something you see in every ballet company), and boost me up when I’m feeling insecure.  These people are some of the best individuals I have ever had the privilege of sharing the studio and the stage with.

There is a certain type of relationship that exists between dancers in a ballet company that might be impossible for anyone on the outside to understand.  If you can imagine all friendships developing in a series of steps, ballet dancers race through these steps at a speed that is probably considered borderline unhealthy to most social psychologists.  From the first time we all meet we are already sweating together, stinking together, and touching each other.  We are often thrust into executing difficult choreography in perfect sync with dancers we’ve just met.  Sometimes we’re even forced to put all of our trust in a partner we’ve just seen for the first time.  We see each other all day, every day, share stressful experiences regularly and often see each other naked almost immediately after introducing ourselves.  I’ve seen some girls’ nude bums before I could even put a name to them.  But these nude bums quickly become family.  Strange, twisted family, yes, but family that could never be replaced, replicated or reproduced.  They are my ballet family, and I love them.

Running On Air

As my third and final week of spring break (read: almost a month of unpaid vacation) proceeds, I find myself anxiously itching to get back in the studio.  While several weeks of layoff throughout the season are to be expected in a ballet company, these three consecutive weeks have left my body feeling strangely underworked.  I’m desperately missing the incomparable quench that is achieved only by beginning one’s day with company class.  My now-rested brain searches for the challenge of tackling new choreography, my heart misses the comfort of my colleagues and friends, and (oddly enough) my legs and feet long for that specific breed of torture defined only by  a day packed with rehearsals.  Fortunately for me, these recently estranged aspects of ballet life that I more often than not greet with familiar, informal salutation will soon return to my daily routine with a vengeance.  In two week’s time, my shell-shocked muscles will be rudely awakened to the intense reality that is Swan Lake…

Oh, did I mention we’re closing the season with Swan Lake? ONLY MY FAVORITE BALLET EVER.  Yup.  I might be a liiiittle excited.

{photo above: my partner Ian and I performing George Birkhadze’s My Sorrow}