Is It Hard To Be A Ballet Dancer?

By TurnedOutPointeOfView on Monday, January 13, 2020

Thank you for the question, @frederikke.schmidt

The quick answer is yes. Yes, it is hard work to be a ballet dancer! BUT if you love it, love it with your heart and soul, then it is worth every second of pain, every sacrifice, every drop of sweat and every tear.

Photo: Morten Eggert

As a ballet dancer, you don’t do it for the money. You don’t do it if you are lazy. And you don’t do it if you don’t have a passion for dance. It’s too hard.

We spend hours upon hours trying to push our bodies to the extreme. We have constant body pressure to look a certain way. Long days. A six day work week. (Sometimes seven days, like last week 😉 )Vacations always include an element to stay in shape. We are more in our leotards then in street clothes. We are at the theater more then we are at home. It can be difficult to make friends outside of the theater because of our demanding and weird schedule. Friday nights are not to party. Friday nights are to recover because you most likely have a show the next day.

The hardest part is to stay strong mentally. When you are working so hard physically, it wears you down and you know the saying, “Life Isn’t Fair…” well ain’t that the truth. Things will happen, out of your control that will hurt you, and they most likely will never be explained. You have to stay focused. You have to continue working. And that is wayyy easier said than done.

Photo: Ravn

You need to fall in love with the training. Fall in love with rehearsing and fall in love with performing. Then you no longer see the work as hard. You see it as a part of “you.” It is just what you do. The reward you get for dedicating your life and working so hard, is in my opinion, absolutely worth it. I love being a ballet dancer. And I love working hard to be a ballet dancer.

Xoxo
-Holly

What Does A “Normal” Work Day Look Like For A Dancer? Performance & Non-Performance Days.

By TurnedOutPointeOfView on Friday, August 23, 2019

Checking out the days schedule.
Thank you for the Question Lina!

A normal day for a dancer would begin by getting to the theater between 9:00 am – 9:50am. Some dancers like to start their day with Pilates, so they arrive in time to get a workout in before ballet class. Others may have a physio appointment and get to the theater around 9:15am or so. Or like me, possible go for a run around Kongens Have before ballet class, arriving at the theater at 9:40am. Of course there is also a group of dancers that sleep until they have to get up and be in class at 10am.

Basically, our day technically doesn’t start until 10am for ballet class but most are up and moving before 10am. We work a six day work week too. (Monday through Saturday)

A Non- Performance Day looks like this.

Ballet Training Class: 10am- 11:30am

Ten Minute Break (grab a snack time)

First Rehearsal Period: 11:40am- 1:30pm

Lunch Break: 1:30pm-2:15pm

Second Rehearsal Period: 2:15pm-4pm

Napoli Second Act Rehearsal with dancers Ryan Tomash & Holly Dorger. Instructor, Sorella Englund.

The theater can call dancers for what we call an, Evening Call. An evening call is for one or two hours and you get paid extra for these rehearsals.

Extra Evening Call: 4:15pm-6:15pm

It is not uncommon to find dancers stretching in the gym, or boys doing a weight training session, or a dancer fitting in some extra cardio at the end of the their day. Either at 4pm or 6:15pm. There is also always someone with their feet in an ice bucket getting rid of the inflammation from the days work.

Torture and yet Divine.

A Performance Day looks like this:

Ballet Training: 10am-11:25am

Five Minute Break

First Rehearsal Period: 11:30am- 12:30pm

Lunch Break: 12:30pm-1:05pm

Second Rehearsal Period: 1:05pm-3:00pm

Stretching with fellow Principal dancer, Jonathan Chmelensky

Can be called for an Evening Call from 3:15pm-5:15pm

Start Preparation for a Show: (Makeup, Hair & Warmup ) Approximately 6pm
Some dancers start earlier and some start later. Depends on their personal routine or role in the evenings performance. I would say on average the dancers arrive between 6pm- 6:30pm to prepare for a 8pm show.

Right Before a La Sylphide Performance

Show: 8pm-11pm

(Possibly ice an injury, ice-bucket, stretch, or put your feet up after a show.)

Evening Stretch

Late night snack.

Bed.

The girls also have to sew all their pointe shoes at some point during the work week (between 1-4 pairs depending on the dancer). You can always find a dancer sewing throughout the day somewhere in the theater. We sew during a slow rehearsal or even in our own lunch break. Sunday is also a big sewing day. (our only day off)

The dancers have access to two Physical Therapists that we can sign up for throughout the day for 30 minute slots. One masseuse is also available for 30 minute massages throughout the day too. 🙂 (YES!!)

A doctor comes once a week (Wednesdays) so injured dancers can be looked at or scanned. There is even a sauna for us to use at our own disposal.

Dancers are always doing something, pretty much. 🙂 We live busy, hardworking, but magical lives.

xoxo
-Hol