Oct 3, 2010

The Breaking Pointe (No pun intended... Nevermind, pun was intended)

"How much is too much?"

A fantastic question.

I'm sure that many of you out there wish you could be dancing 24/7. Don't worry, cuz you're not alone. I wish I had a wide open space in my house where I could dance every day for as long as I want. But there's one problem... I'm human.
Humans aren't meant to keep going and going, never having a break, never tiring. There's a very specific line that we all have and frequently cross. This line is the line of exhaustion and when you cross it you're not the happiest camper in the world. It's important to know where this line is because pushing yourself too hard can result in injury.
I've definitely crossed that exhaustion line before and it resulted as a fracture in my left foot... Two years in a row. Both fractures occurred around Nutcracker season when rehearsal time was pushed to the max and classes were shifted into full gear. I learned where my "line" is the hard way. Hopefully none of you will have to learn about your body the same way I did so I'm gonna share some tips on not only how to know your body, but also how to know when your rehearsal schedule is taking a serious toll on the other aspects of your life.

Number 1: Pay attention!
That tingling feeling in your legs that is making them move like jelly is no accident. Your body is clearly telling you something. Now this doesn't mean that you get to go take off your pointe shoes in the middle of class and then watch for the rest of it. This just means that when you feel you have reached your line, slow yourself down.

Number 2: Listen to your family members.
When your family is constantly complaining about how you're always at dancing and never have time for anything else, chances are it's getting to be a little too much. Life is short and I promise you that you'll find things other than dancing that you will want to do whether it conflicts with your schedule or not.
For the past few weeks I had been rehearsing for three different shows at once on top of regular classes. Now, I obviously love dancing but this was WAY too much for me. Thankfully we finished up with one show on Saturday and now I only have two shows to worry about. Even still, this is a lot of work. One of the shows is our traditional Nutcracker and the other is a "Night of Broadway" where singers/dancers from all around the state come together to put on a fabulous performance with over 40 numbers. I'm only in 3 or 4 numbers (I don't even know what I'm in yet... This is getting scary!) but you should know that Nutcracker is first and foremost, my priority. Night of Broadway is a performance I was asked (more like begged) to be in and I knew when I committed to it that I wouldn't be able to make it to many of the rehearsals because they overlap with Nutcracker rehearsals. The director of the show wanted me in the performance so badly, he wants to rehearse with me in the hallways whenever I have free time!

So clearly that's a lot of occupied time and I, like many others, have a hard time saying "no" especially when someone really needs/wants me in a show. I'm a relatively quick learner and am confident that I can learn this dance in no time which is the main reason why I agreed. Saying no can be extremely difficult but sometimes it's for the best. Not only can rehearsing overwork your body, it can overwork your mind. Having twenty different dances floating around up there can be very stressful and can make it very hard to focus.

All in all, saying no is NOT a bad thing and sometimes you have to put your own/your families well-being first.

Thanks for reading guys!



  1. Good advice! Listening to your body is part of being a good dancer, it is often what keeps you from being sidelined (possibly for good). And I like your tip about listening to family and realizing there is more to life than dance. Every body and every mind needs rest. It's why exercising every other day is advisable. And amazing things happen during that downtime! It's like the body and mind has time to work out the problems (physical or emotional or mental) at hand.

    Thanks for the post! I look forward to reading more on your blog.

  2. I agree, we all have to know when to STOP