dancing woes

ok.. so, I've been a dancer(mainly ballet) for most of my life(not saying much since I'm still in high school), and I always have wanted to do something in the dance world for a profession and all that. classes several times a week, performances etc. I am a dancer. it's who I am.
but know, I'm.. sick of it. I used to look forward to dance, but know it's more like "oh crap, I have dance today" and that's not normal for me. I'm thinking of dropping it after our spring show, in may.
I just feel like I'm never going to be any good, and it's not worth my time any more. which is kind of true- I'm always in the back of formations and I've never had a solo. My body isn't built for dance at all, I have almost no turnout, and my feet have collapsed arches(horrible for pointe shoes). I'm almost always in pain because of back, hip, and leg issues. I can't afford to spend any more time or money on more classes. also, I want to get involved at my school more so I have to skip dance a lot to be at extracurriculars.
I don't really know why I'm typing this all out. I'm guess I'm trying to convince myself that it's alright to quit, but for the past 9 or 10 years dance has been who I am. it's like I'm cutting off an arm or something. any advice/opinions?

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8 replies since 11th February 2011 • Last reply 11th February 2011

I kind of have the same problem. I always dread dance until I actually get there. I always enjoy it after that though. If it's not making you happy anymore, there's no reason to continue. Now it's just become habit. Maybe you need to grow away from your dependence on dance as an identity and try othere things.

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It's normal and healthy to explore different options with your life- and the best time to do that is in high school and college.

Truth of the matter is there are limited jobs in the world of ballet- likelyhood of having a starring role ever is small- chance of injury is high and if you aren't at the 90lbs that most dancers are you get bullied by producters and casting directors to lose the weight. The most you might ever do in ballet is a few seasons in the chorus and then teaching classes to 5 year olds. Which is about the most any ballet dancer can hope for.

I love the arts- I don't have the ankles or the body to be a ballet dancer and never have. But I've played around in drawing, painting, photography, modeling, acting and writing. I totally wanted to be a fashion designer when I was younger. From age 12-18 that was my set goal for myself. But when the time came to filling out my application to FIDM I found myself looking at their english courses more than their sewing classes. I realized pretty fast that my passion had switched to literature and writing. Or rather, it was always there but I just never noticed it before I took Creative Writing classes at my high school.

I also had stopped enjoying sewing when I was in high school. I found it frusterating and not having anyone to teach me what I was doing I was struggling to do things myself (which resulted in a lot of cut corners). I'm 25 now and only in the past year have started to enjoy sewing again- but only as a hobby- once I start getting a ton of requests to make things I get frusterated and want to stop doing it. My passion and love is still with the written word.

In the end you're going to follow your passion because you're an artist and probably not nearly as sensible as the kids who go into nursing or engineering because those are the two fastest growing jobs in the country right now. Better to explore all your options before you make your choice because your real passion might not be what you think it is.

I wouldn't give up on dancing just yet though- maybe cut down on how often you dance to make room for other activities but you may go back to loving it later.

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if you love dance, maybe try another type of dance. Try bellydance, Flamenco, hiphop, jazz

maybe you need to find a new style, a new love

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PinkWeeds- thanks. I've always known that it's really hard to make it as a dancer, but there's always that little spark of hope that refuses to go out, no matter how many times you tell yourself it isn't going to happen. And, now that I think of it, I liked being in the school musical a whole lot more than I've liked dance performances lately. maybe I should go after that a bit more..
I've wanted to try new styles, but I'm in a small town and my studio is the only one around, and almost all of the classes they offer have some ballet required as well.
Thank you very much for telling your story and for your advice. it's good to hear that others go through this feeling as well, what you learned. you've definitely given me much to think about- I appreciate it.

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I think if you don't enjoy it then don't do it.
I'm like Pinkweeds. I use to want to be a fashion designer and took classes for it, but then I started hating sewing and couldn't do it anymore. I just didn't like doing it anymore. So I finally decided I didn't want to be a fashion designer and it was a relief. And I finally started sewing again. Which made me realize, for me, sewing is a hobby not a career choice.

Maybe you don't have to give up dance but don't feel so pressured to become a dancer. Try some new things, you don't have to decided what you wanna do with your life right now. And school musicals are really fun and you grow really close to your cast members.
Or you could get a group of people together and experiment with dance together. You're probably not the only person that wants to try different styles. I have a friend who gets together with people and teaches them dance moves he made up or saw. It's really casual and looks fun.

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We are always changing, it is not weird for a person to love one thing when he/she is a kid, and grow out of it, or just want to take a break from it when in high school. I say take a semester off from it and do not feel bad about it, if it is in your blood, the yerning will come back after a few months and you can pick it up again. A break sometimes is all we need!

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Hmm, I kind of agree with what's already been said, but I'd like to add a few things.

First of all, changing is not bad. Changing is good. It is natural, and above all necessary. When you're a child you think, speak and behave as a child. When you're a teenager, you think, speak and behave as a teenager. Same thing happens when you grow up, and when you grow old. Our passions and feelings aren't carved into stone - even though sometimes we think they are.

When I was a little child, I was mad for books. My only dream was to become a librarian. Then I grew up, and in high school my dream was becoming a professional writer. Then somewhere along the line I picked up theatre, and again I wanted to become an actress. Eventually, I ended up a Sign Language interpreter for Deaf people. That's what I am now that I'm almost 30, but heaven knows what is going to happen in the next years - I can't wait to find out.

Dreams, hopes and aspirations change naturally along time. My younger sister is also into dancing, and she wanted to become a professional till she found out she loved children - especially special needs ones. Now she wants to become a childminder. This didn't put her off dancing though - she dances a lot for fun and loves it. The same with me: I never actually gave up my passion for writing - nowadays I see writing as an hobby, something to have fun and relax, but no-one knows, maybe I'll actually be a writer someday ;)

Putting our dreams in the back burner isn't bad. You say you like extracurricular activities at your school - go for them. Maybe your only, true passion is something you haven't discovered yet. Keep all the doors you can open, and always make the choice that makes you feel better about yourself. You say dancing gives you pains - in my opinion that's a good enough excuse to cut it. Maybe you'll pick it up later, maybe you won't, but you won't be missing anything.

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I would say you are burnt out. I actually am lucky, the only reason I have a job that has to do with dance is becasue my mom knows a woman who owns a studio.

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