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 Post subject: Preparations for the Finale'
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2001 2:55 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Every dancer knows from the very first class - that someday there will be a last class.<P>How do you prepare for that?<P>We not only dance - it is "who" we are - and what we look like. It invests every aspect of our being. How do you prepare for such a change?<P>How do you face the physical changes? what the mirror shows you?<P>The change in chemistry from not doing quite as much exercise?<P>The change in structure to your day? Losing the day to day contact with fellow dancers?<P>The change in the people around you?<P> <BR>Retiring from dance or the dance world - changes a great deal of life - how do you prepare? have you thought about it?


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 Post subject: Re: Preparations for the Finale'
PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2001 10:02 am 
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Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 498
Location: neworleans, louisiana
I love dance but ------- I don't believe it's the "holy grail." There, I've said it. If I couldn't dance, I would just do more of other things I love. I'd write and play music and sing and read and cook gourmet meals and decorate and paint and I'd walk plenty too. <P>But I don't think about this a great deal, since seeing "Dancers of the Third Age" at the Kennedy Center some dozen years ago. Their oldest member was in her 90s and did it in the wheel chair. So, as we "boomers" get older, I think we'll find a way to stay involved somehow -- if, that's what we wish to do.


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 Post subject: Re: Preparations for the Finale'
PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2001 11:25 am 
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Joined: Sun Jun 11, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 4753
Location: Montreal, QC, Canada
Woah, the "finale"? That sounds so morose! Image<P>Everytime I think, "that it's it, I'm leaving dance for good," it doesn't happen. I have had injuries that made me think it was over, that I just wouldn't be able to dance again, and I've had times where I couldn't stand the thought of dancing or being around the dance community (prozac fixed that, lol).<P>I know you're talking about ending a performing career, Basheva, but I like the idea of changing your performing direction as Christina suggests. Too many people are ready to put dance on the shelf when dance really really needs them to stay involved and if it's not as a performer, it could be in another area like teaching, writing, all sorts of things.<P>Because people work *so hard* to become professional dancers there can be a sense of failure or feelings of depression when one realizes that their current situation is going to have to change. Some companies try to help by easing people into other areas, like administration or coaching. If you're an independent artist this isn't something that's available to you, so you have to search out your new identity.<P>Retiring from anything is never easy, it's much harder in a field where people retire about 20 years before the rest of the population. <P>One thing I would suggest to people who want help re-directing or changing careers is the <a href="http://www.fionline.it/scena_italiana/ing/iotpd_0.htm" target="blank">International Organisation for the Transition of Professional Dancers</a>, which provides contact info to their affiliates worldwide.<P><BR><p>[This message has been edited by Marie (edited January 10, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Preparations for the Finale'
PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2001 12:35 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 498
Location: neworleans, louisiana
I dearly loved and admired my (Latvian) ballet teacher in college. He was like a folk hero to me, kind of a Fernando Lamas type, so suave and fun and with such a rich history of performing. He and his much younger model cum ballet dancer wife were an incredibly beautiful couple. They had strong ABT connections and so we often had some very legendary dancers guest in our school performances. I was awed the day my teacher formally 'invited' me to become part of their social circle. He would come to my performances with my troupe and bring a group of friends and talk about me like I was the best thing that ever took the stage (unlike class where, of course, he beat me up, like every good teacher does behind closed doors). <P>He became depressed, however, as his back gave him more and more problems (from years of lifting at Radio City), and he felt his youth fading. He and his wife separated, and one summer, another student found him dead in his coach house. He had shot himself in the head. It was only several years later that his wife, still very young, crashed her plane while piloting over France, and died. So much waste. I miss them the way a person misses their childhood and youth. How I wish I could get together with them and share laughs about all our wonderful, but too few, days together.


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 Post subject: Re: Preparations for the Finale'
PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2001 1:16 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
What I also had in mind were the much more personal aspects of this time of change. There can be preparation to some degree, such as investigating other forms of exercise. And I have done that. While it is enjoyable it does not claim my soul.<P>But dance is not just what we do - it is who we are - as I said above. It is also a mind set. It has infused so much of life in every aspect that when change comes, it changes every aspect.<P>By the time retirement comes one has reached a certain "place" in the sphere we have chosen and that is difficult to replace. Let me be more clear - in ballet class because of the years invested, we can be looked upon as the doyenne of the class. And suddenly - ah - that is gone.<P>The people with whom so much time was spent - and striving was spent - will no longer be so closely a part of one's life. It is almost inevitable.<P>And, then it has to be admitted, there is the reflection in the mirror. That reflection will change too. Not just by age, but for a dancer, by retirement.<P>Yes, other avenues are waiting to be discovered, as Christina says, and I have explored and do enjoy them. But it is not quite the same. I spend quite a bit of time at my easel - but with not nearly the devotion that I spend at the barre. <P>The river of time pushes us along willy nilly - will we nill we - and I think that for some professions it is more difficult than for others.<P>What say you?<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Preparations for the Finale'
PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2001 2:25 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 498
Location: neworleans, louisiana
Well -- even if you no longer take class, you are STILL a dancer. You will still dress like a dancer, arrange your home like a dancer, groom yourself like a dancer, walk and carry yourself like a dancer. These wonderful classical traits will be with you always. <P>I tore out a page of a "Tweeds" catalog a couple of years back because one of the models was an 80-year-old dancer. She looked absolutely fabulous in these unstructured, "young" clothes. She looked so elegant, as I'm sure you will too. Especially given your height, lucky you, Basheva. Listen, I was talking to the birthday honoree of just one of many ballet soirees in the Big Easy lately (we just continue to party from the holidays through Mardi Gras) and she and I were both lamenting being 5'5" tall. "It's just so in between," we whined. Not short enough to be petite, not tall enough to be statuesque. See what you share with my muse, Audrey Hepburn? <P>My mom continues to cut out and mail to me articles about this or that dancer who is 75 and still keeping at it. With all of your background, you will not lose even the social aspect of your dancing. You can write your memoirs and do the lecture circuit -- just let me know when, and I'll arrange. I'm a heck of a publicist. I'm not going to worry about you -- you'll flourish for many years to come.


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 Post subject: Re: Preparations for the Finale'
PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2001 5:31 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Well, Christina here is some grist for the worry mill.......<P>After returning to ballet class last March after being away for 3 yrs. (due to a non-dance injury), on Friday I add another class to my schedule. But, this class will truly test me as there will be some very competitive dancers there. And I can't wait!! I can't wait to do fouettes down the diagonal - to feel the wind against my cheek as I do chaines, to find that moment in the air in a grand jete'.....<P>Will I ever be able to hang up those shoes? <P> And, Christina, I have done the lecture circuit (a series of four lectures) and enjoyed it very much. But going to ballet class and performing was always central - never the periphery - as it is now. <P>Am I the only one who wonders "how do I quit?"


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 Post subject: Re: Preparations for the Finale'
PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2001 1:24 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 19, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 48
Location: WA, USA
I was just reading through some older postings and when I came accross this one, I was intrigued by the questions that are asked. Very though provoking indeed.<P>I do not have quite the perspective that you have, Basheva, since I've not even been dancing for a year. I do love it though, and I'm amazed how much it has shaped my life already.<P>Starting out my last quarter at the dance school I attend, I already knew it would be my last for a while. The reason is that my husband and I will be leaving the country in not even a months time (aak! so soon Image for a six month trip. So I started out last quarter with many fulfilled dreams (just starting on pointe) AND with the thought that this might be my last chance to dance for a while. The reason for our trip is because we are missionaries, and I do not regret in the least the fact that I might have to give up ballet for a while. It's just that where we are going will have absolutely no dance related facilities, I'm not even sure I will have any space or opportunity to practice.<P>So to sum it up, I had to look at the questions you are asking now, after your dancing career, right off the bat. Knowing exactly when my "last class" was going to be, it was pretty tough. I realize six months isn't that long of a break, especially since I'm still really young (19), but our plans for after that are up in the air.<P>I guess this is the way I dealt with it, to respond to your questions...<BR>Realizing that no matter how much dance training I received, I was still me, and I tried not to let ballet shape they way I saw myself too much. I like to think all the opportunities to dance that I get are a gift, an addition to my person, and to treat it as a priviledge. And also to make the most of it. We should all be able to look back on our time dancing and just be incredibly thankful. Not meaning to sound too sentimental or morbid in all of this, ie... gazing at the glory of the dying sunset of our lives and holding the colors with us all throughout the darkness of our remaining days... What a load of crap Image! But I hope this in some way adds to your thoughts and can remind all of us that dance really is a gift, one that we can pass along to others too.<P>Ok, pretty big for my first post, hope it doesn't bug ya'll.


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 Post subject: Re: Preparations for the Finale'
PostPosted: Fri Jan 19, 2001 2:22 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Faith - first let me extend to you a very warm welcome to our board and I hope your post is the first of many, many.<P>I think, with you, that everything we learn in life is never lost, it is cumulative. I went to ballet class this morning and at my age I treasure every moment of it. My flight through the air is every bit as airborne as it was ten years ago - but my appreciation of the opportunity flies much higher.<P>I don't think sentiment is a load of cr*p at all. There is no shame in sentiment, it is part of who we are. What is a sunset without sentiment?<P>I wish you well wherever your travels may take you and I hope you will remain in touch with us, here, and continue to share your experiences. And, I assure you, even the small amount of time you have spent within this art form will enhance the other avenues of what you do. Likewise, when you return to dance, your travels will enhance the art form.<P><p>[This message has been edited by Basheva (edited January 19, 2001).]


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