Like hundreds of other young women out there, I had to make a tough decision. At the age of sixteen, I realised I wasn’t the cute little pigtailed girl in a frilly tutu anymore, and I’d soon have to start making big life choices and, you know, looking after myself. The moment the concepts of moving out, bills and employment started plaguing my mind (Note to self: never grow up!), was the moment I realised something had to give, and that something may have to be the only thing that I’ve ever been certain about. But, now aged eighteen in my own flat and with a whole new life ahead of myself, I know for sure that there’s more than just one reason that I said ‘no’ to a dance career…
1. Papa John’s Two-for-Tuesdays
Okay, not EVERY Tuesday I promise! But all I know is this: if my girls call me offering me pizza, wine and a cheeky film, I’ll be damned if I say no. A bikini body sounds good to me, but then again, pizza sounds better!
2. Shaving your pits every day is a no no!
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of keeping myself and my body in good health and condition, but sometimes a girls just got to have a day off. Come on, am I right?
3. Lie-ins (What are they again?!)
So maybe journalism wasn’t the best career path to choose in terms of wanting extra lie-ins. However, there is a massive difference between a 7am wake-up followed by a leisurely shower and dresssing while checking the latest headlines, and a 7am work out followed by a 13 hour day, plus rehearsals and the gym…. No thank you!
To those of you out there living your dreams, I applaud you! And to those of you still dreaming, I apologise in advance for raining on your parade. But as soon as the stats flashed up that less than 18% of dancers make it into the industry, not to mention reach a reasonable wage, I was scared half to death. I suppose it’s about finding the right balance between what you want, and what you need; what you need, and what you can actually achieve.
5. I want nice things
I mean, I ain’t no spoilt brat. Nor am I some kind of high-maintence, self-obsessed shopaholic. However, dancers just don’t get the privileges that normal folk do. Once the tap shoes, point shoes, jazz shoes, character shoes, leotards, tights, foot thongs, etc. have all been purchased, well that leaves a very, very unhappy bank balance!
6. I want to stay in one piece!
If it wasn’t a sprained ankle, it was a broken wrist. If it wasn’t a broken wrist, it was my feet being torn to shreds by drag runs. Dancers? We’re more like warriors!
7. The problem with true love…
Falling in love with something isn’t really any different to falling in love with a person. If you fall in love as an adult, you’re far smarter and more prepared, so you won’t let it get you down and take over your life. But if you fall in love when you’re young, you’ll find it harder to lose, harder to let go of and impossible to forget – like they always say: “you never forget your first love”. I will never let go of dance, but I just didn’t want my greatest love in life to become a chore to me. I wanted to know that when times get hard, I’ll dance.
When I need a release, I’ll dance. I don’t need an audience, I don’t need any medals. I just need an empty space, some music and the passion that I’ll carry with me, always.
What do you think? Have your say in the comments section below.