I had a conversation with a dear friend of mine that started with informing her of the success of the harder shanks in the pointe shoes.
And honestly, now I have a seemingly new-found perspective, as well as a figurative weight off my shoulders.
Which is silly, because I kinda knew all this before.
It just put it all back into focus for me and really made me realize something.
Mainly, that she was right.
She was right about me needing a harder shank, even when I’m told by others that having a harder shank is a cop-out for people with weak feet.
She was right about my alignment being a little funky and was able to guide me in how to correct it.
She was right about how to use teaching styles that are effective. (The proof is in the pudding.)
So many other things that all have the same connecting factor;
She was right.
So if her track record is one of being right, then I know that she’s right in what our conversation held today.
Which is more than I’m going to divulge here, but what I really take away is this:
I am my own person. I am the product of the hard work and effort I put into to my technique. I can choose to either learn from people offering to help make me a better dancer, or I can throw it all out the window. I can choose to ask questions and learn, or I can putz through in fear. I am not the studio or company I dance for. I am not any lesser or any better because of roles I do or do not get.
And no matter what things look like now, nothing is guaranteed to stay the same.
I don’t know what my life holds for me next year. I don’t know what decisions people around me are going to make that are going to affect me. I can’t count on that. I have to make decisions for myself and what is best for me. I need to keep an open mind and realize that if something isn’t working out, I have the power to change it. One way or another.
So yeah, Swan Lake sucks right now. It’s hard and it leaves me crying every weekend because there is just so much that doesn’t make sense. But there’s parts I can change and parts I can’t. And the parts I can are up to me. I can make the most of what I’ve been given and get through the best I am able. Or I can complain about the things I can’t change, sit around and pout or be bitter or not work hard because it’s “not fair.” Okay, it may not be fair. But that’s something I can’t change. I fear I’ve done all I can do, and that isn’t something I fear for myself, but for the whole.
But I am more than Swan Lake. Even if it puts an unfair amount of strain on me. Even if it leaves me completely frustrated and embarrassed. Even if it leaves me with commitments difficult to keep because of how the “cards fell.” Whatever. Gotta just deal with it and keep trucking, and evaluate things and make decisions from there.
In the mean time, I can utilize every second given to me in that studio to become a better dancer. I can be so good they can’t ignore me–not necessarily in the sense of being compared to others, but compared to myself. Think about it; if someone is a mediocre dancer in class, and all of a sudden they start caring and trying and working hard, the teacher can’t help but notice.
I want to be that.
What they do with it is up to them.
And from that, I decide what to do with my life; with my art; with my career; with my story.
And that is completely up to me.
I shouldn’t set my goals with such a narrow depth of field. I shouldn’t set them in things that are out of my control. I should set my goals and dreams in things that I can handle and things that I can logically work for. If not, I’ll just continuously get let down time and time again, and for what? It’s not that I wasn’t capable or this or that or the other. Who knows why? I sure don’t. But the point is, it’s out of my hands.
Now my goals are going to be with me in mind. They’re going to be something tangible. They’re going to be logical.
- I want to be able to consistently do doubles. In flat shoes, and eventually in pointe shoes.
- I want my jetes to actually, ya know, get off the ground.
- I want to master chaines.
- I want to learn the different names for all the placements–arms, hips, everything.
- I want my arabesque to be above 90 degrees when I’m not trying.
- I want to figure out how to beat my jumps, even though jumping is bad for my knees…
- I want to learn these new, complex moves.
- I want to continuously improve, blowing my old records out of the water.
- I want to leave class knowing I was the best version of myself.
I know this isn’t something I can make a career out of. I’m twenty-seven. This will be nothing more than just for the hell of it. And I should try my best. But I have to realize that there are limitations simply because I’m not in high school, or my back is jacked up, or politics, or whatever.
But I shouldn’t let that keep me from doing what I love for as long as I want to and am able to do it.
My wish is that things would improve to where injustices aren’t a thing anymore. But judging by track record, that doesn’t seem to be logical.
And I can’t let that hold me back.
Started ballet late October of 2011 at the age of 23.
Began pointe training late August of 2013.