That’s a question I get asked all the time since I don’t exactly fit the image of a ballet dancer.
I’ve decided to ask you guys, my fellow dancers out there, the same question. I really want to know what drives you to the barre every chance you get. I’d really like to hear from a wide-range of you out there: Dance students with professional dreams, adult recreational dancers, dancers male or female.
One reason: I’m thinking of creating ballet site for my web design class, and I’d really like to hear your stories.
In asking you why you dance, here are a few of my reasons why I do ballet:
1. I do it because I love it: Because I’m a guy I usually give the normal stock answers as to why I do it. But the truth is, I love ballet. I like sports, but I’d much rather be in a ballet studio than a football or baseball field, or a basketball court. I love everything about, always have since that first class as a teenager. No, I will never be a professional dancer. Too old, not talented enough, but ballet was something I was meant to do.
2. I do it because it’s fun: Even the frustrating classes I have, it never ceases to be fun. Seriously, give me a grande allegro combination I can nail, and I could do it all day. Same with a graceful combination. When you’ve got a combination where muscle memory takes over and you do it well — there’s not better feeling when you’re leaping, spinning, turning and moving across the floor.
3. I do it because it de-stresses me: A job with frustrating challenges, going to school part-time, being the single parent without any help, trust me a 90-minute ballet class, rehearsals and performances allow me to escape for just a little while. Sometimes I carry my burdens into class and it will affect how I do, but usually, I feel much better about things when I leave class. It’s a mental health thing, it’s therapy.
4. I love the challenge: Ballet beyond the beginner level isn’t easy. It strives for a perfection that never really can be achieved. But every milestone, every step or accomplishment you conquer that you didn’t think you could really achieve is a feeling I cannot really describe.
5. It spurs me to live a healthier lifestyle: When I first started dancing, I lost around 40 pounds. It’s helped me keep weight off. The people I dance with have really good eating habits, and that has inspired me. It’s helped my heart rate. The improvement of my posture and the stretching have all but eliminated the back pain I used to have quite frequently. My knees are in great shape for a person my age.
6. My classmates and teachers inspire me: They do for a variety of reason. There are the 16-year-old wonders who dance beautifully across the floor. There’s my 40-something teacher who also dances like she’s a company kid. Then there is the 65-year-old lady who keeps plugging along and doesn’t let the limitations of age slow her down. I could on all day about the people who inspire me.
7. I love the camaraderie: I’ve gained some really good friends since I returned to ballet as an adult. Some are my fellow adult dancers. Some are the company teenage wonders, some are my teachers. Some are the parents of the teenage wonders. Our ballet school and company, we are a family.
8. I love the beauty and grace of it: It’s amazing how I feel in class. It’s my guilty pleasure about doing ballet. My man-card might get revoked because of it, but I don’t care.
9. I love the thrill of performing: Seriously, who’d have thought that when I first started dancing again. I love every aspect about it, from the endless rehearsals, to the adrenaline rush you get when you step on to that stage.