“I hope that this gives you extra courage…you deserve what you seek…”
Think about how many people you interact with on a daily basis…in the workplace, in a social setting, as you run errands. There are connections to be made all around. But how do you choose your closest allies? You may seek their friendship instantly, or their personality may grow on you over time. Some of these friendships are fleeting. But the relationships one builds within the arts community, I find, carry special weight.
Ballet requires that we devote our whole selves in the most utterly vulnerable way possible every day. A company of dancers does not merely delegate tasks amongst themselves and share ideas…they share everything. Growth as a dancer is visible to everyone, and your soul is on the line 24/7. (Did you want a personal life? Good luck with that.) The dance friends who pick you up when you’re down and correct you without fear are some of the most valuable people you will encounter in your lifetime.
There can be a delicate balance between the urging of a friend and that of a fellow colleague whose opinion slightly rubs you the wrong way. Not everyone desires criticism on the peer level. But a true friend’s comments divulge to you the absolute truth. They do not worry about hurting your feelings and sugar coating their observations. Why? Because they want you to succeed just as much as they want to succeed themselves. They will tell you exactly what it is they see, in exchange that you do the same for them.
“…They want you to succeed just as much as they want to succeed themselves.”
Working on such a physical and emotional level all the time truly does bring people together. It is in no way possible to constantly emote and tax the body and not feel any sort of camaraderie with at least one person in the studio. Dancers love to complain. We’re divas. It’s what we do. You have to have someone to absorb and accept your blatant sarcasm and exasperation (that’s my coping mechanism anyway…), or you’ll never survive. We live in a world of high demands. Without a little humor, you may as well quit now.
All joking aside, despite the strength of these friendships, the reality of the matter is that sometimes our paths change. Think of how many wonderful people you have met from literally all over the world through the art of dance—at a performance, a summer intensive, an audition. It’s truly a small world within this field, and yet there are constantly new faces to greet. I am lucky to say that I have shared the stage with some of the strongest, most supportive people I know. The memories we have shared, growing together as artists, are literally priceless, and will keep me laughing and smiling my entire life. But sometimes you have to say goodbye. The career span of a dancer is short, and I have parted with many a friend due to career choices. And it can be heartbreaking. These people become the faces of your routine, your cheerleaders, your foundation, but it is an ever-changing crowd.
I dedicate this post to a friend who will be sorely missed. She is strong, she is beautiful, she is brave and passionate. And she is an amazing artist. She does not give up and has encouraged me countless times to do the same. I hope that this gives you extra courage because you are wonderful, and you deserve what you seek—another stage. I send you off with the purest of wishes, and I am jealous of the artists who will share the stage with you next. Because you are a true friend. We shared the stage—just us—about a year ago in a duet. I supported you then in movement, and I support you now, and in all of your future endeavors. We are so proud of you. This is for you, mon ami. DANCE ON.