Tuesday, May 17, 2011

An Evening With Anne Polajenko: Pro Dance Career Length

How long is a professional career in dance?

The length of a career varies from one individual to another. Physically, dancers are at their peak between 18 and 25. After that, everything gets a little harder. It takes longer to warm up. Injuries occur. But these things are dealt with as a small annoyance at first. Later, issues become bigger and eventually a bad back or injured hip will take their toll. But, a dancer in really good physical shape, can continue dancing into the 40s. Exceptionally, some have been known to dance in their 50s.
Men often stop before women do because it is harder for a man to hide his diminishing physical ability. When the height of the jump or the pirouettes start declining, it is impossible to conceal. One of the hardest things to witness was Rudolph Noureyev, one of the greatest dancers the world has ever seen - lose his catlike softness of landing. One day his dancing was stiff and labored and nothing was the same to his legions of fans. Women, on the other hand, can cheat it longer. What they lose in technique, they make up for in charm and personality until that too fades.

The reason for retirement before its physical time is sometimes due to a disappointing career. Dancers are ambitious and perfectionists. They aspire to be like their role model and work toward it day in and day out. But, at some point, comes the realization they will never be that good. Often, the signs come from management who, despite all the dancer's hard work, always overlook this dancer and do not promote her to better roles. That takes its toll on the dancer's psyche and soon she or he will find reasons to quit and build another life.  Those who have not neglected their education in the meantime are now a step ahead in finding a new career.

Does this new career automatically include dance? Not at all. If every dancer who retired became a teacher, a director or choreographer we'd have as many dance professionals as students. Taking the knowledge in dance to a higher level, such as teaching or directing, requires a different kind of talent and commitment. Many dancers leave the stage entirely and pursue completely different interests.

A third reason for a dancer's retirement can be family. Although it is easier to manage a performing career and family today, it is no picnic as many soon discover. Some dancers - mostly women - retire early to begin a family. Schedules are simply not compatible and exhaustion often takes over.Hence their careers are shorter than they could have been.

Considering the years of training required, the actual career is short. But the art form is a calling and few are able to resist it.

         ---- Anne Polajenko

    Hello everyone, hope you all had a fantastic weekend and are ready to brave through this one as well. We are excited about the Picture Contest and so far we are thinking about keeping the deadline for next monday intact, but I'll keep you all posted on that. Hope you liked the banners, I had fun making them.
     What do you think of the article? Do you agree disagree? How come?

    Love from your humble blogger,

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