Dancers: Quirkier than you think

Playing the Snow Queen in The Nutcracker, my solitary duty was to entice the audience, whisking them out of the daily grind and into an ethereal world—graceful, beautiful, and effortless.

No stress, no blunders. Everything was simple and perfect.

And, here’s what the audience didn’t know…I couldn’t see anything!

Typically, it snows at the end of the “Waltz of the Snowflakes”. And, even though the stage is merely littered with bits of scrap paper, the cheap thrill is bizarrely breathtaking.

But the dancers have a different view altogether. Simply put, it’s a hazard.

During every performance I was blind, courtesy of snowflakes caught in my fake eyelashes. Every time I leaped off into the wings, I blew snow out of my mouth. It was comparable to dancing on an obstacle course, pointe shoes slipping and sliding on the messy floor like there was no tomorrow.

As a result, I muttered many choice words through gritted teeth.

Yet, the audience didn’t notice a thing, and exited the theater with dreamy expressions, Tchaikovsky and tutus forever embedded in their minds.

I fulfilled my duty as a performer. Sure it was dangerous and challenging, but I  cherished every last second.

Dancers are athletes, who know how to act. They make the impossible, attractively possible.

I often forget how enthralling the dancer species truly is, because I have always been one. So, I took a moment to step out of my dancing shoes to analyze quirky characteristics of the dancer, and share a few crazy things you may not know.

  • They’re shy  You probably don’t believe me, but I’m guilty as charged. I can dance for thousands, but I loathe speaking in front of people. I believe this is where the snobby misconception comes into play, others mistaking bashfulness for conceit.
  • Their posture is baffling  Due to my good posture, I almost failed my driving test when I was younger. The DMV tester guy made me pull over and instructed me to take deep breaths; he warned that he was about to fail me for being too tense, because of the way I was sitting. Uncomfortably, I slouched in order to pass.
  • They avoid pedicures  Dancers are hard on their feet, and probably need pedicures more than the average Joe. But, they don’t want to lose their calluses, which act as an important shield against bare floors and pointe shoes.
  • They create in teeny-tiny spaces  That masterful artistry you see on the stage was probably created in somebody’s shoebox apartment. Dancers don’t usually have the luxury of studio space, and make miracles happen in absurd amounts of square footage.
  • They’re always rehearsing  A dancer needs to remember and master, so they run through choreography constantly. They dance at work, the dinner table, the grocery store—you name it! Last week, I was dancing at the dentist.
  • They don’t know how to stop dancing  I’m not allowed to play sports, because I’m a distraction. Why? Because I point my toes when I sprint, I perform a high kick with the soccer ball, I pirouette to dodge something, and I do split leaps over the other players.

Dancers are some of the hardest working artists out there, juggling day jobs, rehearsal schedules, and teaching gigs.

They get paid the least and have the shortest careers, but dancers sacrifice for the greatest reason of all…they love what they do.

10 thoughts on “Dancers: Quirkier than you think

  1. When I was in school, I tried out for basketball. The coach shook his head at my lay up & said that I looked like a ballet dancer. I tried again on the next go around and he said it again. I put my hands on my hips & stated, ” Well, I AM A BALLET DANCER” I might of even added a “hmph” as I stormed off with my bad posture 🙂 Loved this blog entry – thank you.

    1. That’s hilarious. Yes, it’s hard to look “normal” while doing other activities when you’ve had all that good posture and feet manipulating embedded in your body. Glad to find a fellow dancer who connected with this post.

      1. Ballet helped form what defines ME 🙂
        I am a very graceful antique picker. My husband falls over unstable floor boards and knocks over teetering porcelean as I meerilly dance on my toes around it all. The truth!

          1. well don’t forget the dancers little pompous look on her face as she feels some what satisfied from all her years of training. Those lesser than beings falling everywhere. (I WAS trained in the Vaganova method ) Funny but true. It’s all in the performance ya know?

            1. It’s what I tell my students. You may not get the combination, but the audience really only looks at your upper torso. Make it look good! Carry that head high and USE those arms! 🙂 I knew you’d appreciate that one, giggle.

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