A portrait of imperfection and insecurityBlog
Since the young age of 3 I took ballet classes in my small hometown Gumpoldskirchen, back in Austria.
I never had the goal to “be a ballerina” all I wanted to do is dance!! I had to! I just could not just NOT dance!
I remember the days I had headaches that made me cry due to its severeness but i just wanted to go to dance class nevertheless!!
After some children ballet classes my main focus in my childhood was modern dance , jazz dance and lyrical dance. I didn’t start to take serious ballet classes until the age of 12, which is quiet late for ballet dancers. From the beginning on wards I was told that I didn’t have the body for it (too athletic, no feet). Differently to many other girls I have never dreamed of dancing on point shoes on stage, I just had to dance to survive!!!
In my adolescence I started to fall in love with classical ballet!! The technique, strict rules, exact rules on how to “reach perfection”, adagios, exactness, and details! But when I saw myself in the mirror it didn’t look like anything I wanted to portray! I was stiff, self-doubting, forcing and just putting myself down by remembering myself what people told me on a daily basis: your feet are just not made for ballet, you have no lines, your feet are terrible, you will never be a ballerina, just hard work doesn’t pay of if you have no talent! And I believed it. The only reason I continued because I thought if I worked hard and long enough I can chance and the main reason was my love for ballet!
Looking at it, they may have been right: I do not have great feet and no matter how hard I tried or how much I stretched and strengthens them! If I did too much I fractured my bones, torn ligaments and muscles infected my nails and the horror stories continued.
No matter what else I achieved, 180 degrees ecates,high arabesques, triple pirouettes etc all I was defying myself on was my short athletic body and, worse of all, MY TERRIBLE FEET!!
I danced 5 performances with a broken foot, I had numerous other performances that I could just finish with high level of pain medicine I went to get infusions for months to heal my feet and pain! Yet everyday I woke up being mad at my feet again, I lost so many toenails in my life I am surprised they still grew back again!
After many years of full time dancing I decided to stop being a dancer,(which was a really hard decision to make, but that is another story) yet I still loved to dance.
So I continued.
For me, not to worry to make money as a dancer to make ends need, dance for an audience, for teachers, but just for me and I decided to give my feet a little break, to give my best but don’t torture them before, during and after class anymore! And all of a sudden magic happened: I could let go from my imperfection and my focusing on them and let out the real passion I had all along for ballet and dance, the grace, the emotion, the passion, the sensitivity! I got more job offers than ever but at this point that wasn’t important to me anymore, so I declined. I just wanted to dance for me and no one else. I declined jobs that I would have killed for just a few months prior, but my focus and priorities shifted and I knew if I would go back to full time professional dancing I would try so hard to work on my weakest part: my feet and it would ruin my new found love for the soul of ballet!
When I look at the picture it brings up all the emotion again: the You are not good enough! Your feet are terrible! Looking at your feet only you look like an amateur! You can never be a dancer with feet like these!
And I would be lying if I would say I don’t envy girls with wonderful arches and nice ballet feet, but at the same time I don’t let my feet stop me anymore! ANd I think that is the point in all of this! Nobody is perfect and sometimes hard work just isn’t enough, but we shouldn’t let it stops us, yet use it to see what else can I do with it!
My feet are not beautiful for ballet – I am well aware of that, but 85% of the people who look at my pictures (maybe even more) don’t see that and still enjoy them. I can still inspire people without pretty feet (I get messages on a daily basis confirming that!) and I can even dance without perfect feet!!
And after all I do have 2 feet which carry me through life on a daily basis! I should be thankful for that!!