“Sometimes you have to play with your heart and your head.”
Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick. Oh, the sound of time. Even if it’s heard internally, ballet dancers know that sound. 12 minutes left until the next five-minute break, 8 minutes left. . . 3, 2, 1. Yes! A quick phone call, an e-mail return, a change of shoes, a bathroom break, or maybe just a little time for hackie sac. But, what about the value of time? Do ballet dancers struggle with the value of time? Possibly, but maybe it’s not all our fault.
A ballet dancer’s career is short. If we are lucky enough these days to land a paying job at 18 years old, and are luckier to dance into our early 40’s, then we danced a LONG career. A VERY LONG career! Most dancers don’t dance that long, which concludes that a ballet dancers career is short. So the value of time becomes a big issue. Andy Shetterly, Active Release Treatment specialist, brought up this point in last Sunday’s post when he said, “Dancer’s push on, where many other athletes from other sports are afforded the opportunity to have more time to rest or recover. Athletes can go for a week or more without practice and jump right into a game with little or no drop-off, whereas dancers require such precision and practice with such fine motor movements, individually and as a group, that to miss too much practice, can negatively impact a practice or a performance.” But, an athletes career is also short? So other than the idea of precision and practice, why do dancers push so hard? There are endless possibilities for this reasoning, but here are just a few:
- Every moment of a dancer’s career is precious. If we can work, we will.
- Unlike athletes, dancers roles/parts constantly change. The last thing a dancer wants to do, given a great opportunity, is to take themselves out because of an injury.
- A dancer doesn’t want to let their technique fail, and the thought of getting back in shape, more than we already have to, seems too much like a chore.
Behind all the pressure, there is this intangible, non-pushy value of time. Time heals. Giving time, and ignoring the pressures of our career, sometimes needs and has to be the answer. In the end, looking back, we will most likely look at the big picture of our career. So, for current dancers out there, remember, “Sometimes you have to play with your heart and your mind.” Allow the value of time to be heard.