|A typical view driving around Los Angeles|
One of the most challenging aspects of freelancing is deciding when to take a break. I wrote a blog awhile back about the importance of taking breaks. A majority of the discussion was focused on why we take breaks and how to take them properly. One thing I didn't really touch upon was the anxiety that many dancers feel about getting out of shape. From a very young age, young hopeful children begin feeling the pressure of improvement. At a certain point in most dancer's training, they feel like they can't even rest a day in their training or they will start to fall behind everybody else. Even though I have already had a substantial career, I still fear that if I slow down for a moment I will fall behind everyone, as I did when I was a student. Putting that in writing, it doesn't even really make any sense. Who do I have to fall behind at this point? Myself. This thought of falling behind as a student translates into, "if I am not constantly training, working, rehearsing, etc., I am going to lose everything that I have worked for," as a professional.
I recently had a conversation with a friend about having a dance career versus a normal career. In most non-dance careers, you know that as you get older you will always have the knowledge that you've gained, even if your mind isn't as sharp, you sustain an injury, or you level out. Unfortunately, as a professional dancer, you know that at a certain point, while having the knowledge of all of your hard work, you will lose nearly everything you have worked for physically. Another friend of mine who recently retired from the professional ballet life was telling me that after a year of not dancing en pointe, while her body still knows how to do it, it doesn't have the strength to do it anymore. At her young age, she can, of course, work to get that strength back if she wishes. But in just under a year, one can lose 20 years of strength building. This is the best example of why we dancers fear taking a break so much.
|My partner (R) and me (L) at the pier in Santa Monica|
|The view for my jog in Long Beach|
While I definitely feel caught off guard in this moment, I am going into this audition hopeful and knowing that not only have I done everything that I can for this moment, but also everything I can for my dance career and being. Yes, one of my biggest fears as a freelancer has come to fruition. But at the same time, if I don't attempt to take breaks, my body and mind will probably not continue to love dance the way it does. So, as my Bolt bus is currently driving through the Lincoln Tunnel, I must bring this post to a close. But what it really comes down to is that dancers must take time off. Freelancers don't have the luxury of a regular stream-lined schedule. They need to always be in shape. And although that is not possible, they need to be prepared to not always be prepared as perfectly as they may wish. Although I am very hopeful and excited about tomorrow's audition, no matter the turn out, I will leave knowing that I did the best that I could. And not just for this one audition, but as a freelance dancer trying to exist in this sometimes spontaneous world.
(UPDATE: Although I wrote this on my way into the city, I am now editing it on my way out of the city. I won't say much, but the audition went very well. I was even asked to sing, my first time ever singing for an audition. :-)