As dancers, we know that our biggest dreams are difficult, if not impossible to attain. I remember being four years old, watching Darci Kistler float across my family's clunky TV screen as the sugar plum fairy in the television version of Balanchine's Nutcracker and telling my mom confidently, "I want to do that." While she patted me on the back and told me that was a lovely dream to have, she added that I'd have to "work very hard" to do it and that not everyone gets to be a prima ballerina. I vowed then and there to work as hard as possible to achieve my goals of becoming a "real" dancer.
After beginning training at a professional ballet school, I was told over and over again that having a career in a well-paying company was next to impossible, even if I continued training rigorously. I listened, but remained convinced that nothing could stand in my way. Body type, poor extensions, height, back injuries. Nothing mattered, I reasoned, if I just worked harder. Although my goals shifted in the years that followed--toward contemporary ballet after a brief fling with musical theater--my determination remained the same. It wasn't until I moved to New York in 2007 that I realized my dreams might not all come true.
A handful of injuries combined with sudden weight gain and anxiety made me afraid, for the first time, of going to dance classes and auditions. The whole NYC dance world overwhelmed me and with each unsuccessful audition, I wondered whether I could really do this. But I couldn't, and still can't, imagine what life would be like without dancing, performing, taking class, having that dream. By the grace of God, I'm learning to compete with dignity in this crazy business. The number of callbacks I've received has increased and I have a couple of company membership options on my horizons. I still wonder what might have happened if I'd stuck with classical ballet alone or if I'd skipped college in favor of conservatory training or an apprenticeship, but I know the decisions I made were for the best. I sometimes feel like my best dancing years are behind me and even though I probably peaked, physically, at 17, I know my technique and versatility have improved immeasurably since then.
Even if my goals are impossibilities, I'm going to keep dreaming, imagining and trying until I'm too old to tie the drawstrings on my ballet slippers.
Yeah, I totally stole this entire post from a believe-in-yourself motivational posters. I'm sorry that this blog is sounds like a Lifetime movie and I hope you'll forgive this disgusting display of sincerity. At least I didn't link you to this. (Oops.)
What's your impossible dream?