What will it take to build more female leaders in ballet?
Dr. Linda Hamilton, the creator of Dance Magazine's longstanding advice column, Advice for Dancers, interviews New York City Ballet star Ashley Bouder about her work on the Ashley Bouder Project and the ways in which she's fighting for more female leadership in the ballet world.
This video is the first in Dr. Hamilton's new video series tackling the most current, newsworthy and controversial topics in dance.
Why can't I jump as high as my male partner? We both have to perform the same series of jetés in a workshop performance and practicing isn't helping. I'm starting to panic.
—Amy, Cincinnati, OH
While I'm lucky to have a high arch, my demi-plié stinks. I keep getting the same correction to make it deeper. Any ideas?
—Foot Challenged, Winston-Salem, NC
It's been a year since I sprained my ankle and it continues to hurt, even with physical therapy. I've had to skip class, and I worry that my injury could ruin any chance of landing a job when I start auditioning. It hurts the most when I do grand pliés. Is there something wrong with me?
—Lame Broadway Dancer, New York, NY
I had a two-month injury and thought it would make me miserable. Instead, I'm experiencing a huge wave of relief at being out. Should I feel guilty about not missing dance? I still love it but hate never feeling good enough.
—Injured Perfectionist, Fort Lauderdale, FL
I feel like a loser after auditioning for a ballet company. Instead of a job, I landed a position in their trainee program. I refused it and switched to a school with a Limón curriculum, which doesn't do it for me. Now what?
—Failure, New York, NY
My girlfriend wants me to say "no" to extra work outside of the company. During breaks, I typically teach master classes, do gigs and choreograph. I love these opportunities, but I'm always tired and it interferes with our time together. What should I do?
—Principal Dancer, New York, NY
Get Dance Magazine in your inbox
My nerves have been a mess since auditioning for a Nutcracker my teacher recommended me for. I freaked out because I was afraid to disappoint her. I didn't get hired, although my audition material is being kept on file by the artistic director. I feel like a complete failure.
—Loser, Hoboken, NJ
I had to stop physical therapy for a chronic subluxing knee after suffering a second-degree leg burn from spilling hot cooking oil. I've been to the doctor, used antibiotic cream, and washed and bandaged the burned area daily based on his directions. But it's taking forever to heal! I don't understand why my body won't respond.
—Burn Victim, San Diego, CA
I feel totally unlovable as a woman ever since my boyfriend left me for a male dancer in the company. I truly believed he was in love with me when we moved in together. How can I get over my gut-wrenching grief, let alone dance with him?
A serious boyfriend who suddenly comes out unleashes an avalanche of questions about your relationship, making you wonder if it was all fake. Understandably, this also complicates your emotions as his dance partner. But your ability to be loved has nothing to do with your boyfriend's desire for liberation after living a closeted life. Sexual preference is inborn and may emerge when a person admits that they're bisexual or gay after a long period of confusion, fear and inner turmoil. It's not a personal choice; it's who they really are.
Obviously, it would have saved you considerable pain if you'd known this beforehand. He may have wanted to be with you due to love, a misguided attempt to rid himself of his yearnings or both. Human sexuality is complicated, and love does not always equal sexual attraction. Right now, surround yourself with caring friends while you slowly adjust to this change. If you need a safe place to tell your story and discuss your experiences of grief, isolation, anger and betrayal, check out the Straight Spouse Network. While it will take time for you to feel more comfortable dancing with him, you may eventually develop compassion for your partner's own painful journey.
I've already had several dance jobs and apprenticed with a company. Now I've set up a series of auditions but can't shake the words of my old dance teacher. He told our entire class that, unlike him, we didn't have what it takes to be a professional. He also laughed at us and made humiliating comments about our bodies. We thought he was "mental" at the time, yet now it's messing with my head. What's wrong with me?
—Jason, Jersey City, NJ
I'm constantly terrified about my health even though my annual physical was fine. All it takes is an upset stomach or a new freckle. Then I can't eat or concentrate on dance and waste hours checking myself, searching the web for fatal diseases and insisting on lab tests. Knowing I'm a hypochondriac doesn't help. What can I do?
—Worried Sick, Boston, MA
My orthopedist says I need hip arthroscopy to repair a torn labrum from doing an upside-down split in a contemporary piece. He says I'll most likely be able to dance again, but I'm worried. My best friend had the same surgery and wasn't able to perform ballet afterwards. How risky is this operation? I'm only 28!
—Katie, New York, NY
I'm naturally thin and have been living on fast food such as burgers, fries and pizza. Now I'm trying to eat better to prepare for auditions. I know the basics, like choosing good carbs, protein and fat, but it's hard to make smart choices when I'm grocery shopping. Any ideas?
—S.H., New York, NY
Three small dance companies offered me a job. The first wanted to give me good roles without pay until someone left. The second (which I took) pays, although the rep isn't as good and the studios are in a mall! The last was just a Nutcracker season in a nice company. Sadly, it feels like I "settled" for money rather than artistry. Did I make the right choice?
—Depressed Dancer, Midwest
I plan on moving to New York City this fall to continue my training and freelance work as a dancer/choreographer. A big concern is whether my health insurance will cover my medical needs for asthma. Can you give me any recommendations?
—Casey, San Francisco, CA
I took up Latin ballroom over a year ago, and my coach/partner wants me to compete in the Olympics of ballroom dancing—Blackpool in England in May 2018! My problem is that my bunions cause discomfort while dancing for long hours in 3-inch heels. Should I consider surgery to remove them? I don't want to jeopardize a critical point in my career.
—Michelle, Silver Spring, MD