How To Get Back Into Dance After Taking Time Off

I'm A Little Rusty, But I'm Just As In Love With Ballet As I Was When I Danced Every Day

Taking two years off means I'm not perfect, but I want to dance again.

I'm A Little Rusty, But I'm Just As In Love With Ballet As I Was When I Danced Every Day
Bunheads / ABC Family

From the time I was three, I wanted to be a ballerina. I love watching dancers on pointe shoes glide across a stage in beautiful tutus. I wanted to be that. So my mom signed me up for dance classes and it didn't stop there. For the next 15 years, I would be classically trained in ballet, work with companies both regional and international, and perform in two ballets a year.

Ballet became my life. It's what I wanted to do.

Towards my high school years though I decided I wanted to be an actress and go study acting instead. My plan was to keep taking ballet classes but have theater as my main focus. Sadly things didn't go according to plan.

I was accepted into a wonderful college for theater and I was so grateful, but for the first year and a half I couldn't take a dance class — it wouldn't fit into my schedule for various reasons. My body had changed so much. I gained weight, I wasn't as strong, and I wasn't as active. But finally, in my second semester of sophomore year, I was able to take a dance class.

When you start back dancing after a long time there are some difficulties. Your body is familiar with what's going on but isn't in its best condition to do so. You no longer have the same strength in your legs, your arms might look weird at times, and going up on your toes might actually hurt. Your flexibility is nowhere near where it was before and you were never even that flexible to begin with. Your turns aren't as beautiful as you can only maybe do doubles instead of triples or more. You may feel hopeless or like you waited too long.

But you'll also feel a feeling that you haven't felt in years.

You'll feel familiar with what's happening. You'll feel nostalgic. You'll remember why you started in the first place and question how you allowed yourself to ever stop. You may not be where you were but you're determined to get back there. You feel motivated to keep trying and keep going. Because at the end of the day, this is the art you first fell in love with. This is your happy place. So maybe you're not as great as you used to be but keep trying, keep working, because this is what it's all about.

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